The East African Business Council (EABC) is urging the EAC Secretariat to convene the EAC Sectoral Council on Interstate Security in order to consider deployment of a regional joint army patrol for escorting and protect truck drivers amid the cross-border trade impasse due to security concerns.
The EABC condemns the harassment and killing of truck drivers traversing EAC borders.
A joint regional army patrol is a quick solution to guarantee peace and security for truck drivers, business people and their properties. This will ease and facilitate the transportation of essential goods amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April 2021, the East African Business Council commended the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Government of Uganda for escorting truck drivers and now urges the Ministries in charge of Interstate Security to adopt a regional monitoring mechanism to analyse, monitor progress and emerging issues on trade & security in the region.
Peace and security are prerequisites to social and economic development in the region. Insecurity increases the cost and time of transporting goods, risks people’s lives, obstructs cross-border trade and negatively impacts the competitiveness of the EAC bloc.
Due to cases of insecurity in the Republic of South Sudan especially along the Nimule/Elegu border route to Juba currently, over 1056 trucks are stranded at the Elegu border risking the spread of COVID-19 to border communities.
Each day a truck is stranded to deliver goods, the transporter and client incur losses of appx. USD.1,000. Furthermore, the release costs for truck drivers who have fallen victim to the insecurity assaults range between $10,000 to $20,000 and sometimes their precious life.
Businesses can only reap the benefits availed by the EAC Common Market of 177 million consumers only if peace and security is guaranteed and flourishes.
In 2019, South Sudan exported goods worth USD. 6.8 million and imported USD.225.9 million from the EAC Partner States. Intra-regional exports grew by 0.6 percent in 2019 to USD.3.2 billion while total EAC intra-regional imports increased to USD.3.2 billion in 2019, from USD.2.8 billion in 2018 (EAC Trade and Investment Report, 2019).