Juba, August 30, 2010 – The visits by World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, from September 2 to 4 and of Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President for Operational Policies and Country Support, September 5 to 8 respectively, confirm the Bank’s commitment to remain a reliable partner of Southern Sudan.
“Regardless of the outcome, after the 2011 Referendum, when residents will have decided on whether or not to become a separate nation, Southern Sudan’s focus must turn all the more towards economic growth, jobs, and services. The World Bank is committed to staying engaged and assisting the Government and its citizens in addressing their extraordinary needs,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili during a two-day visit to Juba.
Southern Sudan is among the poorest regions of the world. More than twenty years of civil war—which ended in 2005 with a Comprehensive Peace Agreement—devastated the region and its infrastructure and left it in critical need of schools, clinics, roads, and clean water. A US$524 million Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Southern Sudan (MDTF-SS)—supported by 15 donors and administered by the World Bank—has been operating since 2005 and has assisted the interim government with state- and peace-building efforts.
The Trust Fund has been instrumental in putting Southern Sudan back on a path of recovery. It has provided almost 250,000 people with safe drinking water; helped 2.5 million people access medical supplies; delivered school supplies to 1.7 million students; provided community-based training for better sanitation and hygiene; rehabilitated and built roads; and built capacity in government ministries that were previously nonexistent.
“As the Trust Fund overcomes the difficulties of the first years, the social and financial impact is becoming more and more visible,” said Ian Bannon, the World Bank’s Acting Country Director for Sudan. “Between the end of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 the Fund disbursed US$117 million, a figure that exceeds its previous two years combined.”
To ensure continued progress after the referendum, the Bank and its partners are geared up to help Southern Sudan put into place a long-term strategy with a cross-cutting theme of peace building and a primary focus on six key elements: oil revenue management; public expenditure management; delivery of basic services; private sector growth; infrastructure; and security.
Within this strategy, possible areas of engagement for the Bank include: laying the foundations for broad-based growth; building the Southern Sudanese state; and realizing development results.
“To tackle these development challenges, all partners, including the Bank, donors, and the government of Southern Sudan, must maintain a coordinated effort,” Joachim von Amsberg said. “Security, logistical, and capacity constraints will still exist, but to get the job done, we must stay engaged and focus on the deliverables for the people of Southern Sudan.”