Rumbek — Rumbek Airport is being upgraded so it can accommodate international flights in time for South Sudan's independence anniversary in 2013, according to Lakes State's Minister for Physical Infrastructure Adak Costa Mapuor.
Rumbek, the capital of Lakes State has been selected to host the second celebration of South Sudan's secession from Sudan on 9 July 2011. South Sudan became the world's youngest nation as part of a 2005 peace deal that granted the region self determination.
Minister Costa said that as well Rumbek Airport, a new stadium and 10 kilometres of road will be tarmacked with funds from the office of South Sudan's president Salva Kiir Mayardit. Rumbek has never had a single paved road.
Lakes State's government have wanted to priorities road building and improvements but say they do not have enough funds. The state's Ministry for Physical Infrastructure has set up a Feeder Roads Steering Committee (FRSC) to which roads will be prioritised.
All eight counties of Lakes state are asking Governor Chol Tong Mayay to fulfill the road building promises he made during his successful 2010 re-election campaign.
South Sudan's poor infrastructure is a legacy of the two decade civil war and severely under investment while the region was governed by Khartoum. However, in the seven years since former rebels the SPLM have been in power in Juba, little progress has been made in terms of improving infrastructure.
Adak said that "Rumbek airport is upgraded as international airport" by South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit. The airport will be build with tarmac. Within Rumbek Central county, 10kms roads will be tarmac by South Sudan Government.
Poor transport links are negatively affecting the new nation's economy and ability to trade between states. This has contributed to increases in food, fuel and other items of the last year, which has largely been caused by South Sudan stopping oil production at the beginning of the year in a dispute with Sudan.
The two nations signed a deal this week that will see South Sudan resume oil exports through its northern neighbour and reopen the new international border for trade. The moves are badly needed by both economies.
Floods in Lakes State have severely damaged many of feeder roads:
The Rumbek-Wulu-Mvolo road has to be treated with extreme caution with drivers reaching their destination exhausted.
The Rumbek-Cueibet-Tonj road is full of potholes but is still passable with caution.
The Rumbek-Yirol-Awerial road is in a very bad condition especially between Yirol West and Aluakluak.
The Rumbek-Maper-Bentiu road is especially bad between on the last 10 kilometres into Maper