Chinese embassy hands over Jur River Bridge to South Sudan government

The Chinese embassy on Monday handed over the newly completed Jur River Bridge commonly known as the Clement Mboro Bridge to the South Sudan government.
Simon Mijok Mijak, minister of roads and bridges (3rd Right), Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan Ma Qiang (4th Right) attend a group photo with other South Sudanese officials during the handover ceremony of the newly completed Jur River Bridge on Monday, May 6 2024 in Juba.

By Denis Ejulu

The Chinese embassy on Monday handed over the newly completed Jur River Bridge commonly known as the Clement Mboro Bridge to the South Sudan government.

The new bridge located in Western Bahr el Ghazal state, has a designed length of 240 meters and a width of 14 meters, and spans a total of 1,480 meters.

Simon Mijok Mijak, the minister of roads and bridges said during the handover ceremony held in Juba, the capital of South Sudan that the magnificent modern bridge built since 2021 by Chinese firm Tianyuan Company Limited will not only connect the entire four regions of the country, but also link East Africa to West Africa.

“This bridge is part of the Silk Road connecting East Africa through South Sudan to West Africa, and it is going to play a very vital role in connecting all the four states of greater Bahr el Ghazal region with the three states of greater Equatoria region plus the states of greater Upper Nile,” Mijok said during the handover ceremony held in Juba.

 He said that the Clement Mboro Bridge is one of the vital bridges, that is going to be remembered forever, adding that it has already strengthened the existing bilateral relation and cooperation between China and South Sudan.

“Clement Mboro Bridge will stand as the symbol of our true unshakable friendship between China and South Sudan,” Mijok disclosed.

He requested the Chinese government to continue supporting construction of major infrastructures in the country, adding that they want Chinese firms like Tianyuan Company Limited to be part of the construction a mega corridor linking South Sudan to Djibouti and Ethiopia.

“We have challenges in key areas like in Malakal town, because we are developing a corridor with Djibouti and Ethiopia, so we need a mega bridge, we will discuss with Chinese companies how we can implement, whether it is a grant supplemented by the government of South Sudan or the full investment we will be ready to discus,” Mijok said.

Sarah Cleto Hassan, governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal state, said the Clement Mboro Bridge will play very important role in fostering peace and improving security across the country.

“There are enormous needs for infrastructure development in South Sudan, but this may not happen without stability in the country, it has always seemed that bridges are among the most powerful and important symbols in human society, symbols of connection, cooperation and harmony, when peace and healing come then it is the construction and rehabilitation of bridges that mark our progress,” Cleto said.

She disclosed that the opening of the bridge marks a new milestone in South Sudan-China friendship.

“Today, symbolizes development and improved prosperity, I see there will be many more things we can do together in Western Bahr El Ghazal state,” Cleto said.

She said that building roads and bridges will spur sustainable peace and contribute towards the economic development of the country.

Ma Qiang, Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, said that the transportation industry when developed plays a fundamental and strategic role in achieving economic and social development.

He said Wau, the capital of Western Bahr El Ghazal where the bridge is constructed has the advantageous geographical location, abundant resources, and unique development conditions, but its economic potential is being restrained due to limited infrastructure.

“After the completion of the bridge, it will save time for crossing the Jur River, connect people on both sides, increase employment opportunities, and inject new vitality into the local economic and social development,” Ma said.

He disclosed that a total of 76 South Sudanese workers and 35 Chinese workers participated in the construction of the bridge, adding besides providing local employment  opportunities several South Sudanese technicians were able to upgrade their skills and knowledge.

“2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative which was proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. The Clement Mboro Bridge is one of the fruits nourished by the Belt and Road Imitative between China and South Sudan. It realizes both the infrastructure connectivity and heart-to-heart links between the two countries,” Ma said.

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