The importance to Sudan of transport and communications has been rediscovered in the last few years.
SV Sudanese Vice President Abdel Magid Hamid Khalil leaving aircraft and greeted by officials in Kassala, Sudan
SV Young people with flags and banners
SV & CU Vice President seated in stands in the Port Sudan Road, Kassala
CU Abdull Hassan El-Khider speaking in Arabic
LV PAN People listening as ceremony continues
CU General Manager of Sudan's Road and Bridges Corporation, Sayed Abdullah Man Mohamed Abdulla, speaking in Arabic
GV PAN Crowd gathered for official opening of the road ceremony
GV & CU Crowd applaud as the Vice-President walks forward to inaugurate the road (2 shots)
CU Vice President unveiling inaugural plaque
GV Vice President's motorcade passing along the new road
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The importance to Sudan of transport and communications has been rediscovered in the last few years. The country needs to stimulate the growth of internal trade and exports and to speed up development projects. Until four years ago the only good highway stretched the short distance from the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to Wad Medani, just over 100 miles (160 kilometres). The government has now extended this road to Port Sudan, the only outlet to the sea. The last section of the highway was financed by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC reserve.
SYNOPSIS: Sudan's transport system was given a big boost on Friday (3 October) when the nation's Vice President, General Abdel-Magid Hamid Khalil, arrived to open the recently completed section of the highway at Kassala. The 745 mile (1,200 kilometre) road from Khartoum to Port Sudan is now complete. A senior official behind the project, Abdull Hassan El-Khider, spoke of the new opportunities ahead.
Before the road was opened about 90 percent of the country's imports and exports travelled on an antiquated single track railway between Khartoum and Port Sudan. Delays and losses were frequent. The head of Sudan's Road and Bridges Corporation said the nation's road system will improve even further when the new highway between southern Sudan and Kenya is opened.
The road to Kenya, some 680 kilometres (420 miles) long, will run between Juba in southern Sudan and Lodwar. This will give southern Sudan direct access for the first time to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Sudan's Vice President officially opened the road which had already greatly eased the pressure on the country's railway system. Another boon to speedy and efficient transportation in the country was the opening of the oil pipeline between Khartoum and Port Sudan three years ago. Sudan will now modernise its whole railway system using a 75-million (US) dollar loan from the World Bank.