AfDB commits to help Sudan build resilience and tackle fragility
JOSE CENDON / AFP
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 approved Sudan’s Country Brief 2017-2019, designed to help the country build resilience and address core issues of fragility.
Board members commended the recent lifting of US sanction on the country and emphasized the need to help tackle the political, economic, social, and environmental challenges that Sudan is currently facing.
Interventions provided in the Country Brief would enable Sudan improve social service delivery, create jobs and livelihood opportunities in agriculture and agro-industry with emphasis on youth and women.
Sudan has been grappling with the impact of South Sudan’s secession in 2011, leading to the loss of 75% of oil resources and profound macroeconomic challenges, exacerbated by weak capacity to effectively deliver basic social services and a staggering external debt undermining the country’s access to concessional financing.
Despite these challenges, the country’s economic outlook has brightened by the prospects of reintegration into the global economy following the revocation of the US economic sanctions.
Relying on in-depth fragility analysis, economic and sector works, and the outcomes of the Bank President’s visit in March, the Country Brief is hinged on two pillars – Capacity building for improving social service delivery and Agriculture for Job Creation and Livelihoods.
The first pillar aims at strengthening institutions to improve social service delivery and build resilience of marginalized segments of the population. Interventions under the pillar will focus on: i) improving governance and addressing institutional capacity constraints that impede the delivery of basic social services, and ii) undertaking targeted operations that directly deliver basic social services to the poor.
Creating employment and livelihood opportunities to address the core causes of the country’s persistent fragility will be the focus of the second pillar. This will be achieved through: i) strengthening agricultural value chains to create jobs and livelihoods opportunities; ii) enhancing innovation in agriculture to improve productivity, incomes and employment opportunities; and iii) supporting agricultural entrepreneurship, especially for the youth (young men and women).
These areas of intervention are aligned with the Bank’s and the country’s development strategies and policies and anchored on two of the High 5 priorities, especially “Feed Africa” and “Improve the Quality of Life for the people of Africa.
In concrete terms, the Bank will finance seven projects – three under Pillar I, and 4 projects under Pillar II – as well as private sector engagements and opportunities that would be generated by the permanent lifting of economic sanctions.
Funding under the Country Brief will be sourced largely from the Transition Support Facility (TSF) Performance Based Allocation (PBA), as well as Bilateral Trust Funds and Facilities to the tune of US$110 million.
The Board emphasized the need to strengthen country dialogue on fragility and resilience building; debt relief and arrears clearance; economic diversification through agriculture, agro-industries and agribusiness; policy reforms in key sectors; governance and accountability; as well as unemployment and livelihoods development.
The African Development Bank and South Sudan have a history of cooperation which started after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The then territory of Southern Sudan benefitted under the one country two systems approach and later after independence South Sudan and the AfDB under the Cooperation Agreement signed with the Bank. The country was officially accepted as member of the African Development Bank in May 2012 and in September 2013 it ratified its membership.
The Bank is financing three (3) ongoing projects with a total investment of approximately US $17.8 million. Given the institutional capacity constraints facing the country, the Bank’s investment in South Sudan is mainly focused on Institutional Capacity Building and Public Finance Management. The Bank has also financed the first Infrastructure Action Plan (IAP) which is critical to planning and mobilizing resources to address the binding constraint of the country’s huge infrastructure deficit resulting from decades of war.
Following the attainment of independence, the country prepared its first development planning framework called the South Sudan Development Plan (SSDP) 2011 to 2013 which has now been extended to 2016 and is in the process of finalizing the South Sudan Development Initiative (SSDI) whose objective is to prioritize and operationalize transformative projects and programs of the SSDP. The planning framework of the country focuses on transitioning from fragility by addressing human capacity constraints and the New Deal for Fragile State’s five peace- and state-building goals including: (i) legitimate politics; (ii) security; (iii) justice; (iv) economic foundations; and (v) revenue and services.
Aligned to the pillars and objectives of the SSDP, the Bank in October 2012 approved the first Interim Country Strategy Paper (I-CSP) 2012-2014. The I-CSP is articulated around one main pillar: “State Building through Capacity Building and Infrastructure Development”. Particular emphasis is on creating the conditions for promoting peace, stability and state building, through assisting the country in human and institutional capacity building in public finance management, aid coordination and quick-win infrastructure projects with potential rapid impact on enhancing peace, security, livelihoods and the investment climate.
In line with the I-CSP, the Bank will in 2013 provide grants amounting to UA 33.99 million* for four interventions, namely: Technical Assistance for the Development of the Transport Sector; Direct Budget Support Program (to be financed in parallel with the IMF and the World Bank); Small Towns’ Water Supply and Sanitation Feasibility Study and Detailed Design; and the Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project. The plan for 2014 includes two major interventions in the infrastructure sector, and support to the agriculture sector. These are: The Fula Rapids Hydroelectric Power Project, which is packaged as a public-private partnership and will receive up to UA 6.6 million from the private sector window of the Bank as well as the Juba-Kapoeta Road Upgrading Project on the Kampala-Juba-Addis-Djibouti Corridor from the ADF country allocation and regional/multination window as well as the Drought Resilience in the Horn of Africa support program. The allocation for the three projects is about UA 97.5 million from country allocation (PBA and FSF) and regional window.