Food prices drop in South Sudan after border points reopen

Food prices drop in South Sudan after border points reopen
High-level delegations from Sudan and South Sudan pose for a picture at the bridge between Sudan and South Sudan’s border, in Aweil East County in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. [Photo: Courtesy]

The Northern Bahr el Ghazal State government has revealed the reopening of the four border points between Sudan and South Sudan.

According to the state leadership, the reopening of the borders has resulted in a decline in the prices of commodities in towns along the borders after the arrival of the first trucks of goods from Khartoum.

In an interview with The City Review yesterday, the commissioner of Aweil East County, Kiir Yor Lual, said they have witnessed a significant drop in the price of commodities in the market after the reopening of the borders.

“We were able to notice the change in price within two days of the arrival of the goods.” A sack of sorghum weighing 90 kg or 100 kg was being sold at SSP 35, 000. Immediately as we received the goods, the SSP dropped to SSP 27000,” he stated.

“We had some discussion with some delegation from Sudan— a high-profile delegation—about the reopening of the corridor called soft-border crossing as part of the government’s strategy to open four crossing points between Sudan and South Sudan,” Lual said.

He said the border points are in Panakuac, Unity State; another in Renk; and a third one in the northern part of Upper Nile.

Win-win for both

Yor reiterated that the reopening of the border would also ease the cost of travel for medical service providers from Khartoum.

“It creates a supply of goods in all our markets, whether they are foodstuffs or other construction materials. For Sudan, it earns them hard currency,” Yor stressed.

“It is important socially for people to move across the border to seek medical services in Khartoum. When it was closed, it was very difficult, and you know that not everyone can afford the flight to go to Juba or other countries to seek advanced medical care. When you travel from Warawar, it is a matter of one day for you to reach Khartoum.”

 Yor said they have also agreed to provide security along the border. 

“If the two governments agree to normalise relations to facilitate the movement of goods, the government will be able to protect people across the border. Both governments have agreed to provide security along the corridor. Security-wise it is also helping our people.”

Border opens

On Tuesday, a high-level delegation led by Lt Gen Martial Stephen from South Sudan and his Sudanese counterpart, Lt Gen Al Amin Mohamed met at Majak-wuoi border town near the border with Sudan.

The delegates officially declared the reopening of the four border crossing points in Unity State, Upper Nile State, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

It was after a meeting held last week by the government of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and the government of Western Kordofan for the border to be reopened.

River transport

Last week, the two governments agreed to allow river transport so that goods could flow to South Sudan from Sudan to dissolve high commodity prices.

This was after the Presidential Security Advisor, Tut Gatluak met with Sudanese authorities for the movement of goods from Kosti to Juba.

Tut announced on South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation over the weekend that traders were free to transport goods from Sudan to South Sudan.