JUBA/WASHINGTON, July 9, 2011—The World Bank Group congratulates the authorities and citizens of South Sudan on the birth of their new nation in application of the overwhelming vote for national sovereignty during the peaceful Referendum in January 2011.
“This is a wonderful, historic moment for the people of South Sudan, and the World Bank pledges to be a strong partner as we help transform a day of independence into a decade of development,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick.
South Sudan has suffered from decades of civil war, and has some of the lowest human development indicators in the world. Over half of the population lives below the poverty line.
Taking into account urgent needs confronting the new country, the Bank is proud to be one of the institutional partners that have sought to provide early assistance through a US$75 million transition trust fund to help provide health care, infrastructure, and employment to the people of South Sudan.
“The decision to provide early support to the Republic of South Sudan is consistent with the Bank’s determination to be more nimble and responsive in order to take advantage of every window of opportunity that opens in fragile and conflict- affected situations such as South Sudan,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, who is in Juba attending the independence ceremony.
Speedy attention to the most urgent needs was one of the main recommendations of the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development.
While attaining nationhood changes South Sudan’s political framework and governance arrangements, South Sudanese still face enormous development challenges particularly those of inclusion.
“The Bank’s priority remains helping South Sudan to provide comprehensive and inclusive development for its people. Ensuring inclusive governance, providing jobs and livelihoods for its people, and building good enough institutions that can provide basic services—these are the building blocks of a new nation that the government must strive towards,” said Ezekwesili.
South Sudan is not yet a member of the World Bank, making it ineligible to access normal financing from the Bank. However, it has submitted an application for membership, which will be processed immediately following independence.