The East African Business Council (EABC) has welcomed South Sudan and Uganda for escorting truck drivers to Juba after at least 15 people were killed last month after a string of armed attacks on vehicles in the world’s newest country.
The move will provide a quick resolution to the cross-border trade crisis due to security concerns, according to the Eastern African Community’s Top Private Sector Board (EAC).
“The Council has followed the safety of truck drivers and the free movement of cargo and services to and from South Sudan along the Juba Route and deeply welcomes this recent initiative by the South Sudanese government to accompany truck drivers,” EABC said in a statement made available to the media yesterday.
In the statement, the Council further stated that peace and security are prerequisites for social and economic development in the region.
East Africans could only take advantage of the wider EAC common market of 177 million consumers if peace and security are guaranteed and flourishing.
EABC also urged the ministries responsible for intergovernmental security in the EAC to find lasting solutions to ensure peace and security for business people and their properties, to improve trade and investment within the EAC, and to facilitate cross-border business.
South Sudan currently offers an important and growing market in the region. In 2018, South Sudan imported $ 377 million worth of goods from the EAC region and exported $ 17.9 million to the bloc.
More than 100 commercial vehicles crossed the Nimule border into South Sudan over the weekend after protests by drivers demanding security guarantees for entry into the country for about a week.
Last week truckers sought protection from the South Sudan government after more than 10 people, including foreigners, were killed and three trucks were set on fire by unknown armed men along Juba-Nimule and Juba Yei streets.
The drivers also called for justice for those killed.