Last Wednesday saw the official opening of the new Qastal-Ashkit border land crossing between Egypt and Sudan. At hand for the opening were Transport Minister Hani Dhahi, Industry and Trade Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, Aswan Governor Mustafa Yusri, and Sudanese Minister of Roads and Bridges Abdel-wahed Youssef, among other officials from Egypt and Sudan. The 60,000 square metre crossing and connecting road on the Egyptian side were built at the cost of EGP360 million; half the sum was paid by the Egyptian Armed Forces. The road is the first of three others still under construction.
Both Mr Dhahi and Mr Abdel-Nour stressed the importance of the new crossing for Egyptian Sudanese trade which today stands at a mere EGP850 million. The crossing should help this sum leap to some EGP2 to 3 billion in couple of years, said Mossaad al-Naggar, head of the trade office at the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum. Mr Naggar stressed the importance of reviewing the shipping regulations between both countries in order to facilitate procedures and allow trucks from both sides to carry loads across the borders.
Mr Naggar drew attention to the fact the Sudan was in the process of establishing free trade zones on its borders with Eritrea, Ethiopia, Chad, and South Sudan. Mr Abdel-Nour, for his part, confirmed that Egypt was in talks with Sudan to establish a free trade zone on the Egyptian border.
Mr Abdel-Nour also stressed that the Qastal-Ashkit crossing should not only enhance trade with Sudan, but should also be Egypt’s gateway to trade with other Nile Basin countries and all Africa.
29 August 2014