Improved bilateral trade relations between South Sudan and Uganda has excited informal traders at Elegu border town in Amuru district. Last year, representatives of East African countries led by Henry Okello Oryem Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Uganda met in Juba and agreed on major principles for safety of traders in South Sudan. Uganda and South Sudan also agreed to implement trade barrier protocols. Gloria Akullo, who operates fresh fruits between Elegu town and Nimule says the meeting helped to reduce number of road blocks that had been spots for extortion. According to Akullo, there have been issues of illegal roadblocks especially on the no-mans land where some south Sudanese purporting as South Sudan revenue collectors demand money from traders.
Aisha Baako another trader who started business with South Sudan since 2012, says she had to abandon business for some time due to unbearable hiccups of extortions. However, Emmanuel Adil, the governor of Central Equatorial state in South Sudan blamed the challenges on lose local government structures in South Sudan government.
The resident district commissioner of Amuru Geoffrey Oceng who was part of the delegation that met in South Sudan to discuss cross border bilateral relations says several resolutions were made including permanent deployment of soldiers along the trade routes and removal of all illegal road blocks. In 2018, The Intergovernmental Authority on Development adopted a regional policy framework on cross-border trade that promises to be a lifeline for the region’s small-scale traders. The policy seeks to strengthen border security systems, support trade at border crossings and promote participation of borders and communities in policy making.