South Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs inspects Freedom Bridge

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[Juba, South Sudan TCT] Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Dr. Mitsuaki Furukawa, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) South Sudan, recently visited the construction site of the New Nile Bridge known as the Freedom Bridge. The bridge is being constructed with the support from the Government of Japan with implementation by JICA. Dr. Benjamin and Dr. Furukawa walked across the temporary bridge and were briefed of the progress of the construction work. Mr. Norio Umeda, Resident Engineer of CTI Engineering International Co., Ltd. who is in charge of the site, explained that although there have been challenges due to increased river water levels during the rainy season, the construction is progressing on schedule. He added that upon completion, the bridge will be able to be used for over 100 years if it is maintained properly. After visiting construction site, Dr. Benjamin thanked the Government of Japan, JICA, and the engineers and workers on site for their cooperation. “This Freedom Bridge is strategically important for South Sudan because it will connect the east and the west of the Nile,” Dr. Marial told the chief representative of JICA and the workers at the site. “It will increase and boom the business, improve the movement of people and encourage the investment to come in,” he added. In addition, Dr. Marial acknowledged the employment opportunity the project has created for over 100 South Sudanese workers at the construction site, and equally praised them for their hard work. Dr. Furukawa expressed appreciation to the Minister for his visit to the site and added that it is important to see the progress of Freedom Bridge. Dr. Furukawa said JICA is happy to be part of the project, and that it is an example of the friendship between Japan and South Sudan. The Freedom Bridge is a new 560-meter bridge across the Nile River to provide permanent crossing point. Currently, Juba Bridge is the only crossing point over the Nile River along the road connecting Juba and Uganda, and it does not have the sufficient structural capacity to accommodate increasing traffic and cargo loads. The Freedom Bridge will provide a reliable and efficient route for the distribution of goods and services, and is expected to contribute to the economic development of South Sudan. The construction is expected to complete in June 2018.

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