Juba, February 20, 2010 - The Southern Sudan Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) was established in 2006 to provide funding for post-conflict reconstruction in the region in the wake of two decades of civil war. International donors have committed $526 million to the MDTF so far, of which:
- $326 million (62%) has been disbursed or allocated to projects completed or under implementation
- $163 million (31%) has been committed for approved projects awaiting grant agreements
- $30 million (6%) has been set aside for a new water project
- $7 million (1%) remains unprogrammed
Southern Sudan remains a hugely challenging environment in which to implement development programs. It is amongst the poorest, least developed regions of the world. It has been blighted by decades of conflict, lacks basic infrastructure and urgently needs to develop an administrative capacity for government while the necessary skills and experience are in extremely short supply.
Nevertheless, the Trust Fund has made some important contributions, rehabilitating the Juba hospital and half of the city’s water supply; providing basic materials for health care and education; rehabilitating roads; financing agricultural inputs, providing technical support to poor farmers; funding small emerging entrepreneurs (mostly women); and ensuring that government ministries are running with functioning offices. By July of this year we expect more than half of the $526 million committed to the Trust Fund to have been disbursed.
Highlights of results achieved through MDTF funding include increased access to clean, safe water for almost 250,000 people across ten states, more than 2.5 million people benefitting from access to medical supplies, twelve mobile clinics providing critical veterinary services to farming communities across the region, and completion of the Juba-Mundri road, reducing travel time from seven hours to two and a half hours.
In administering MDTF funds, the Bank has to balance the need to disburse quickly, with its fiduciary responsibility to ensure that donor monies benefit the poor not the powerful and are not lost to corruption and mismanagement. In this instance, The Head of Government in South Sudan specifically requested the World Bank to apply its procedures of procurement and financial management rules in southern Sudan to prevent corruption and help build institutions for good governance.
Like others, however, the Bank has not been satisfied with performance of this trust fund, which has not met standards achieved by other trust funds we administer elsewhere, in large part because of severe capacity constraints. We want to move faster, while still ensuring proper use of funds. Over the last two years we have placed international procurement specialists in our local office; financed additional experts in the Ministry of Finance to handle funds; simplified requirements for small contractors; and increased amounts that can be approved locally. We are also working harder to do better, through a high-level team in place in Southern Sudan evaluating recent progress and seeking ways to improve performance.