South Sudan Joins World Bank Group
WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Republic of South Sudan became the newest member of the World Bank Group today when South Sudan's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kosti Manibe Ngai, signed the Articles of Agreement and Conventions of the World Bank Group in Washington DC.
In addition to becoming a member of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), South Sudan joined the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Development Association (IDA), the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). IDA is the Bank Group's concessional financing facility that helps the world's poorest countries.
South Sudan became the world's newest country on July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict. It has some of the lowest education, health, and other human development results in the world, and more than half of the population lives below the poverty line. The country however has rich agricultural and forestry potential, and significant oil reserves.
As a member of IDA, South Sudan will have access to highly concessional resources, in addition to a wide range of technical and advisory services from the World Bank Group. With the admission of South Sudan, membership now stands at 188 countries for IBRD, 184 for IFC, 172 for IDA, 148 for ICSID, and 176 for MIGA.
“I am very pleased to welcome South Sudan, the world's newest country as our newest member of the World Bank Group, to help it manage and resolve its many formidable development challenges while it also builds a broad national coalition to secure lasting peace and prosperity, “ said Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank's Vice President for Africa.“South Sudan is a test case for the ideas in our 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development, emphasizing the leadership role of citizens in their own country- led peace and state-building solutions, with the support of their international development partners. The World Bank is strongly committed to this approach in South Sudan, and also to support the fight against corruption, to promote accountability and good governance, and to work closely with South Sudan and its communities for better social and economic development.”
The World Bank Group has been actively engaged in South Sudan's development since 2005, both through analytical work and as the administrator of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Southern Sudan (MDTF-SS), which is funded by 13 donors and the World Bank. To date, the MDTF-SS has disbursed about $505 million (against $541 million committed), supporting 20 projects in ten sectors considered vital to South Sudan.
“Even before we became members, the World Bank has already been collaborating closely with us. So today we are very pleased that the formalities have finally been completed, and we look forward to a long term partnership with the World Bank Group as we work together on the much needed development of South Sudan,” said Minister Kosti Ngai.
Slightly larger than the size of France, South Sudan has few roads or water infrastructure, while key education and health indicators such as child and maternal mortality and primary enrolment are among the worst in the world. Over the last several years, the MDTF-SS has helped fund the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and maintenance of nearly 3,700 kilometers of all-weather roads, thereby increasing access within the country. Over 1,100 boreholes have been drilled or rehabilitated, and fourteen water distribution systems constructed, thus giving more than 562,000 people across almost 100,000 households in rural South Sudan access to clean and safe water.
In addition, the MDTF-SS funded the construction of 46 primary schools and 11 county education centers, trained more than 1,200 new teachers, and enabled the printing and distribution of more than 3.6 million textbooks and teachers' guides throughout the ten states. In the area of health, the MDTF-SS provided for the rehabilitation of 71 health facilities, and enabled the distribution of more than 250,000 malaria kits, 1 million mosquito nets, and 10 million water purification tablets. The rehabilitation of 47 buildings at the Juba Teaching hospital, the largest such medical facility in South Sudan, also means it is now better equipped to serve approximately 100,000 patients a year.
In the agriculture sector, advisory services and grants for production inputs have been provided to more than 116,000 farmers across 27 counties in South Sudan. This has helped to increase yields of staple crops by over 30 percent, translating into improved household food security and incomes for those beneficiaries that have been able to produce a surplus.
Ahead of South Sudan's independence last July, a $75 million South Sudan Transition Trust Fund (SSTTF) was established by the World Bank to help provide health care, infrastructure, and employment for the people of South Sudan during this transition period. The World Bank Group is working closely with the government and stakeholders in South Sudan to develop a new two year partnership strategy. The new strategy will work towards a range of efforts that are critical to supporting South Sudan's development.