The border between Sudan and South Sudan is one of the longest borders between two countries on the entire continent. For Sudan’s political analyst Jok Maduk Jok, its reopening represents significant development potential for both countries.
RFI: What does the opening of this border mean for the two countries??
Jok Maduk Jok: It is a large territory, where there is a significant concentration of population on both sides of the border. It is also a place where most natural resources are found, whether it is oil, agricultural products. So this is a very important border that no country can completely control and close. Its opening is in itself a recognition of its importance: a vital territory for the survival of the two countries.
Will the opening of the border have a significant economic impact?
This will have a major economic impact on local people who will no longer have to pay exorbitant sums to be able to sell and buy goods. Before the border was closed, there was still trade on both sides of the border, but it was illegal and traders had to pay bribes. Now that the border is open, these illegal taxes should disappear, it will lower prices. And it will be good for the people.
So this should facilitate trade?
Absolutely, South Sudan is one of the largest consumers of products from Sudan, whether it is cement, steel or food. South Sudan is a young country under construction, and therefore the import of these products is necessary.
But this trade also benefits Sudan. The country produces cement, steel. But you can not eat them, you have to sell them. So these exchanges should also benefit the government, which will officially be able to levy taxes that we hope will go into the treasury.
Will there also be a political impact when this border is opened?
Yes, there will also be political and social consequences. For example, the situation in South Sudan is currently very dangerous and volatile. People are fleeing to Sudan. But these people have no status because no one recognizes them as refugees. The opening of this border will enable the free movement of people and therefore probably enable the legalization of the status of these people who may be granted housing status or have the opportunity to find work.
This will require discussions and cooperation between the two states. The two governments must work together to serve their people who move from country to country.
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