Egyptian and Sudanese authorities marked the opening of the new Qastal-Ashkeet border crossing between the two countries on Wednesday.
The state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA), quoting Transport Minister Hany Dahy, described the crossing as, “a corridor for development” and “the easiest route to and from Lake Nasser.”
Sudan’s state-controlled SUNA, quoting Sudanese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Youssef al-Kordofany, described the new border crossing as both “important” and “historic.”
Although the two countries share a border stretching some 1,275 kilometers, Sudan is not amongst Egypt’s largest trading partners. Current trade is estimated at around LE 5.5 billion (US$750 million) annually. Officials hope it will increase by around LE7 billion ($981 million) with the completion of the Qastal-Ashkeet border crossing.
Beyond trade in primarily livestock, minerals and agricultural produce, the new crossing is expected to facilitate the flow of people between the two countries.
The Qastal-Ashkeet border is located at Egypt’s southern most border point by Lake Nasser (over 920 kilometers south of Cairo) and Sudan’s northern most border point at Wadi Halfa.
Private-owned Al-Dostour newspaper reported that the construction of the new crossing cost around LE360 million.
The lengthy and arid Egyptian-Sudanese border reportedly experiences a great deal of smuggling of both merchandise and people.