By Margaret Wahito
Nairobi — Kenya and South Sudan will be connected to a high-speed fibre optic cable within the next two years enhancing communication and inter-border trade.
The two governments are implementing the optic fibre cable system as part of the Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project.
The project will also build a road linking the two countries from Eldoret to Lodwar and Juba and a common border post built at the interconnection of the two countries.
“As you are all aware, roads and information superhighways are two of the most effective means of realising accelerated development of any modern economy. Today we are witnessing the implementation of both at the same time in this region,” Shared Services Director at the ICT Authority Robert Mugo said during the project commissioning in Lodwar town, Turkana to inaugurate the project on the ground.
South Sudan will similarly extend the cable from the Kenya-South Sudan border to Juba.
The ICT Authority is implementing the Kenyan-side of the project through a World Bank fund estimated at a cost of Sh2.6billion, while the Sudan side is estimated to cost Sh1.5bilion.
The road construction between Lokichar and Nedapal is worth Sh52.5billion and will be funded by the World Bank.
The full cost of the road construction from Eldoret to Sudan border is an estimated $1.2 million dollars. The real construction work will start in May 2016 and will be completed in February 2019.
Once completed, the two countries are set to benefit from fast movement of goods and people and enhanced internet connectivity.
The connectivity will be used by towns and facilities along the corridor including schools, hospitals, government offices and telecommunications operators.
“This development will increase inter-border trade between Kenya and South Sudan as well as link Turkana County to the rest of Kenya. We see the prices of commodities coming down,” said Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok.
Kenya through the Ministry of ICT has already entered into an MoU with South Sudan through the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services on January 23, 2015 in relation to the construction of the fibre optic cable that will interconnect both countries.