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PRESS RELEASE January 16, 2018

New Country Engagement Note for South Sudan Reaffirms World Bank Group’s Commitment to Supporting Vulnerable Populations

WASHINGTON, January 16, 2018 — The Board of Executive Directors today endorsed a new World Bank Group Country Engagement Note (CEN) in support of the Republic of South Sudan’s development objectives.

The CEN which will cover the next two years was informed by extensive consultations with key stakeholders. To maximize the impact of interventions, the CEN was designed keeping in mind the comparative advantage of the World Bank vis-a-vis those of other development partners engaged in South Sudan. 

Despite the challenging environment in the country, World Bank engagement in South Sudan over the past four years helped to safeguard the positive gains made in key sectors and protect the livelihoods of millions of South Sudanese.

However, the persistent conflict has had devastating impact on the country’s economy and displaced 4 million people. Nearly 66 percent of South Sudanese live in absolute poverty, 7.5 million people need humanitarian assistance and half the country’s population faces severe food insecurity. High unemployment and literacy rates are also major obstacles for the country.

“Going forward given the enormity of the needs on the ground, World Bank’s interventions will mainly focus on providing basic social services, supporting livelihoods and enhancing food security for the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized groups,” said Sahr Kpundeh, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan.

Most South Sudanese have very limited access to services and are forced to travel for long distances. On average, a round trip to a health facility takes nearly five hours and students spend over two hours for their commute to school.

“Our engagement will focus on basic needs in a context where livelihoods have been undermined by conflict. Putting special emphasis on health, rural livelihoods and basic infrastructure at local levels will provide a solid foundation for accelerated development activities once a peace process is under implementation,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

To ensure that services get delivered directly to the people of South Sudan and funds are used for the intended purposes, the World Bank will use a mix of country systems and third party financing. This arrangement guarantees efficiency, equity and transparency in service delivery.

The World Bank will also continue to play a key role in bridging the gap on the links between humanitarian and development assistance.  Under the CEN, the World Bank will also undertake a range of analytical and advisory services that will lay the groundwork for economic recovery once conditions in the country improve.

Likewise, the International Finance Corporation is in a position to scale-up support in the form of technical assistance and analytical work to promote private sector development, once conditions in the country are more favorable.



Addis Ababa
Gelila Woodeneh
(+251) 115-176-010
Ekaterina Svirina
+1 (202) 458-1042