South Sudan and Ethiopia Agree on Oil Pipeline

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Ethiopia and South Sudan have recently solidified a significant agreement aimed at enhancing security and boosting trade through the construction of an inter-state highway as well as an oil pipeline meant to transfer Sudan’s oil to markets via Ethiopia.

The agreement, finalized on July 6, 2024, during discussions between officials from both countries along their shared border, represents a crucial milestone in strengthening economic ties and advancing infrastructure development between the Horn of Africa nations. 

Both South Sudan and Ethiopia are landlocked and require significant interconnectivity and infrastructure to develop their full potential. Despite such efforts however, the thorny and complicated political scene in the region will prove difficult. Disruptions to oil transit as a result of the ongoing fighting in Sudan has prompted South Sudan to consider its soul dependency on Port Sudan.

A key outcome of the meeting is the commitment to allocate resources for the construction of a strategic road that will connect Upper Nile State’s Gambella-Pagak via Maiwut to Malakal-Maluth and Paloich. This road is strategically important as it will facilitate the transport of oil to Djibouti’s port, thereby bolstering regional trade and improving security coordination. There are also plans to transfer this oil to Somaliland’s Berbera port.

South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly had previously approved $778 million for a highway project that will link the country with Ethiopia, underscoring their joint commitment to fostering economic prosperity.

Officials, including David Nyang from Upper Nile state, have hailed the agreement as a pivotal step towards promoting peace, stability, and enhancing bilateral relations.

Deputy Minister Semaya K. Kumba described the agreement as a historic achievement, emphasizing its potential to address shared challenges and deepen cooperation between Ethiopia and South Sudan.

While this deal has a promising start, as everything else in the region, continuity and implementation is always a challenge. It remains to be see if the parties are committed for the long haul required to get the pipeline and road completed.

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