Oil-for-Road: Congratulations President Kiir on Taking this Vital Decision on Road

Posted: February 4, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Deng Diar Diing, Economy, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By John Deng Diar Diing, Mombasa, Kenya

The Treasure of South Sudan

Monday, February 04, 2019 (PW) — Quoting the Deputy Information Minister, Lily Albino Akol Akol, on the decision of the Cabinet of the government of South Sudan to allocate 10,000 barrels of its crude oil per day to Chinese firms to build roads within the country. This decision delivered what I have, as a road engineer aspired for, for far too long. It is my opinion that this is going to be the first petrodollar to flow directly to addressing the needs of our vulnerable population since 2005.

Various development economists and experiences of economic upward mobility from transient economies and developed countries attest that transport infrastructures and energy have the highest and quick economic multiplying effects. It has been shown that countries that invested in energy and transport infrastructure realize a burst in the growth of processing industries, improvement in mobility of skills, people, goods and services and agricultural sector.

South Sudan has a classified road network of 19,000km; that includes primary, secondary and intra-county roads. The Primary road network, that is, the trunk roads that connect all the former ten (10) States Headquarters and major international borders is about 6,400km. If this 10,000 bpd of the crude oil is projected to flow for 10 years, and assuming that crude prices oscillate around 61US$ as it stands, then we will expect about 61×10,000 x 365×10 =2,226,500,000 US$.

Referencing engineering studies and estimations that put the cost of constructing a km of road at 1.0 million dollars in Equatoria region, about 1.2 million in Bahr Ghazal region, and an average of 1.4 in Upper Nile, this should give an average of 1.2 million dollars per kilometer. Dividing this 2,226,500,000 by 1,200,000 gives about 1,855km.

How do we then apply these funds?

The construction of roads should aspire to achieve first international connectivity since our country is landlocked country and secondly, to enhance internal mobility for governance facilitation and for purposes of transportation of goods and people. Given geographical orientation of South Sudan, we need to primarily open up our borders to Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya.

And for internal connections, I will propose connection of the three cities of Wau, Juba and Malakal. Relying on my exposure to the road networks in South Sudan previously and now daily participation in handling international and regional trades and logistics, I have the following to recommend for the consummation of the funds.

For the purpose of international connectivity; South Sudan needs to open the borders of Raad and Jikou at the Ethiopian side, Nadapal to the Kenyan border, Nimule to the Ugandan border and Mereim(or Abyei), Karsela(S.Kdfn) and Renk for the Sudanese border.

Starting with the international borders therefore, the following roads will need to be constructed:

  1. Nadapal-Kapoeta-Torit- Nesitu                   =335 km
  2. Raad-Boma-Pibor-Bor                                     =447 km
  3.  Jikou-Bukteng-Nassir-Malakal                    =329 km
  4. Renk-Paloich-Malakal                                 =323 km
  5. S.Khordofan Bdr-Bentiu                              =  60 km
  6. Abyei-Wunrock-(br. Aweil)-Kuajok-Wau-  = 206-60 km
  7. Kaya-Yei-Lainya-Juba                                    = 225 km

Sub-total of International connectivity                  = 1,985 km.

The critical internal connections are as follow:

1. Juba-Yirol(Mundiri)-Rumbek-Wau                     = 637 or 640 km
2. Juba-Bor-Malakal                                                 = 614 km
4. Mundri-Maridi-Yambio                                        = 245 km
5. Bentiu-Leer-Rumbek                                             = 311 km

Sub-total of length                                                     =1,807 km

The decision can be made to either double the number of barrels per day to cover both internal and international connectivities or get resources from elsewhere to supplement the envisage but wishfully to have them constructed under the same mechanism.

How do you manage these projects?

Borrowing from the modality of Emergency Roads Repair of SPLM Secretariat of Physical Infrastructure in 2003, the government of South Sudan can set-up a committee of experts from the Ministries of Petroleum, Roads and Bridges, Transport and with representations from other pertinent institutions like Office of the President.

This committee will be responsible for quality, schedule and cost control during the project implementation. There will be no handling of cash whatsoever. Any expenses thereto should be vetted and approved by this committee before execution. The projects will be implemented concomitantly in say about ten (10) operations to reduce the period of implementation and overhead cost.

More importantly, this activity can only be successful if the office of the President has a competent minister who will keep track of these projects in details and effects. Regardless of what we may go wrong in this arrangement, it stands to be the best attempt made by our government to channel resources to attend to the needs of our people.

This not only makes one hopeful that our leaders are waking up to the call of leadership, it also makes one feel a call of duty to participate in this genuine discourse to change the trajectory of things in our country.

The author, John Deng Diar Diing (P.E. B.tech., MSc, MIEK.), is the Deputy Director, Infrastructure Development and Management, at the Secretariat of the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority in Mombasa, East Africa region. He can be reached via his email:   Deng Diar <diardeng@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

  1. SPLA OYEEE says:

    I doubt that they will adhere to what they are saying now; because they are not meaning it. I think there is unsurfaced burning issue/s with them, of which the authorities want to diverge the public away from it. It will be the best, and the first time beginning thinking in economical way.
    Thank you.


  2. SPLA OYEEE says:

    Secondly, Renk is not the border between Sudan and South Sudan, it is Joda.


    • Deng says:

      True SPLA Oyee, Renk is not the border but the 56km from Renk to the border is already tarmacked according to my research, unless on renovation which will not be a priority at this point.


  3. Dun Palam says:

    Dear readers,

    I think this is a great initiative by our President. In my opinion, it should serve as a pilot project and when proven effective, it should be replicated in all other service sectors. Our so-called leaders have demonstrated their selfish intentions beyond doubt that they are not trustworthy to handle such essential national projects. From the inception of the government of South Sudan until today, those individuals who have been given opportunity to serve the people turned out to be a bunch of looters. They have been busy all these years amassing wealth at the expense of the people of South Sudan. Some have enriched their accounts in foreign banks to the brink while children of the departed war heroes are left homeless in Juba and other major towns in our country. So it is time to try other alternatives to minimize this gross mismanagement of national wealth. In addition, I also wanted to remind the readers that the border between South Sudan and Kenya is not Nadapal. Our border with Kenya is at a place called Koorwudut.


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