USAID Announces New South Sudan Mission Director
On May 12 in Washington, Jeffrey Bakken was sworn in as the new U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director for South Sudan. He will begin his post in Juba on May 18. He succeeds Teresa McGhie, who has served in that position since July 2014.
USAID is the largest donor to South Sudan, having provided nearly $1.6 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of South Sudan since civil war erupted in December 2013, as well as $1.3 billion in development assistance since South Sudan's independence in 2011.
As mission director, Mr. Bakken will oversee USAID's extensive humanitarian and development programs in South Sudan, which include lifesaving food and other emergency assistance. He will also supervise development programs in health, education, conflict mitigation, democracy and governance, and economic growth focused on livelihoods and agriculture development.
A career member of USAID's Senior Foreign Service at the Minister Counselor level, Mr. Bakken has worked in overseas development assistance for over three decades after joining USAID in 1993. Mr. Bakken most recently served in USAID's Global Development Lab as Agency Engagement Director. Before that, he was deputy mission director in Pakistan and director of USAID's Office of Pakistan Affairs in Washington. Previously, he led the interagency Humanitarian Intelligence Unit at the Department of State and headed U.S. Government efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake. Other positions include serving as director of the Office of South American Affairs in USAID's Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and senior development advisor in Iraq. He also served with USAID in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and South Africa. Before joining USAID, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a volunteer, trainer, deputy director and acting director in Ecuador.
“We want to thank Teresa McGhie for her outstanding service during her assignment, and welcome Jeff Bakken, whose distinguished background in the development field positions him to play a strong leadership role in supporting the Transitional Government of National Unity during this critical period,” said U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Molly Phee.
Mr. Bakken, who is from the state of Minnesota, earned a Bachelor of Science in Spanish and Latin American Studies from St. John's University in Minnesota and a Master of Science in Aquaculture Development from Auburn University in Alabama.