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March 26, 2024 (JUBA) – South Sudan has restricted exports of essential goods to neighbouring Sudan, citing domestic shortages and rising prices. The move comes as both countries grapple with economic challenges.

William Anyuon Kuol, South Sudan’s Minister of Trade and Industry, emphasized the government’s priority in stabilizing domestic food prices. He explained that export restrictions are a common strategy to ensure basic supplies remain available within a country.

“We understand the importance of trade, especially during difficult economic times,” Kuol stated. “However, just like Russia’s wheat export ban last year, this measure is necessary to address our own food security concerns.”

The ongoing conflict in Sudan has disrupted internal trade and production, particularly in Darfur. This has increased Sudan’s reliance on humanitarian aid and neighbouring countries like South Sudan for essential supplies. Notably, South Sudan has remained open to refugees fleeing the conflict and facilitated humanitarian deliveries.

However, South Sudan also imports goods from Sudan. The minister highlighted concerns that exported commodities may not adequately meet domestic demand, leading to further shortages in border regions.

Recent reports indicated that South Sudanese authorities stopped trucks carrying food and fuel bound for Darfur at the border. Zachariah Garang Lual, the Information Minister of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, clarified that the restrictions target specific goods, not a complete border closure.

“The aim is to address scarcity and high prices within our own borders,” Lual emphasized. “This is not about preventing supplies from reaching specific regions in Sudan.”

Local analysts acknowledge the dependence of Darfur and western Kordofan on South Sudanese supplies. While the restrictions exempt humanitarian aid, some experts warn of potential economic and security repercussions.

This development follows Sudan’s declaration of force majeure on oil operations in February 2024, citing an incident involving paramilitary forces. This disruption in oil flow raises concerns about escalating tensions and hindering the 2018 peace agreement in Sudan.

South Sudan’s decision underscores the complex and interconnected economic challenges affecting both nations. - Sudan Tribune

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