WASHINGTON, May 13, 2021— A new World Bank Country Engagement Note (CEN) for South Sudan for the period FY21-23 marks a fresh approach to supporting the country and could deliver the largest World Bank program to date over the next year. Operations and activities under the CEN aim to bolster the Government of South Sudan’s efforts to strengthen its institutions, support basic public service delivery, and promote resilience and livelihood opportunities across the country.
This new approach will also help South Sudan pursue a gradual transition away from third party execution to implementation through government systems and support efforts to reduce dependence on humanitarian aid. South Sudan is currently among the poorest countries in the world, and years of conflict and economic mismanagement have hindered its ability to build effective institutions that are essential to anchor medium- and long-term development aspirations.
Despite having taken steps to initiate institutional Public Financial Management reforms, the Government of South Sudan is confronting a host of deep economic vulnerabilities that are being exacerbated by the COVID-19 crises, oil price volatility, severe flooding, and a locust infestation that has had a calamitous impact on the population and their livelihoods.
“While our new engagement strategy acknowledges South Sudan’s fragility and challenges, it also embraces a cautiously optimistic approach that seeks to capitalize on a rare crucial opportunity for change,” said Husam Abudagga, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan.
By increasing our support for South Sudan at this critical moment, we are reaffirming our commitment to the people of South Sudan and our dedication to fighting the most entrenched poverty. Under the CEN, the World Bank plans to substantially increase its support and invest about $320 million to assist South Sudan’s development priorities. It will also commit the full allocation under the International Development Association (IDA)* 19 replenishment, including funds under the Remaining Engaged during Conflict Allocation (RECA) and the Crisis Response Window (CRW) Early Response Financing (ERF).
The World Bank has been engaged in South Sudan since the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. Following independence in July 2011, South Sudan officially became a member of the World Bank Group in April 2012. Currently, the World Bank portfolio in South Sudan is composed of three projects worth US$190 million.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.