December 16, 2011 (JUBA) — The newly founded Republic of South Sudan on Friday said it joined Extractive Industries Initiative, two days after President Salva Kiir Mayardit pledged to improve accountability and transparency in order to foster growth and reduce poverty.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international body that works to promote transparency in resource-rich countries through the "verification and full publication of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining."
Prior to becoming a member of the Extractive Industries Initiative, South Sudan has to establish a Freedom of Information Law, which ensures public access to government records. Since becoming an independent nation from the Sudan, the new state has not been able to pass a media law raising fears how the members of the public would access information.
Reacting to the decision taken by the government to join the world’s body, the head of United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan on Friday said welcomed the commitment of the government to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
“This step is one of the important measures to improve governance announced by the government during the International Engagement Conference in Washington, D.C”; said a statement bearing the signature of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations seen by Sudan Tribune on Friday reads in part.
The government has also announced a presidential decree which will oblige government officials to declare their assets and prohibit their involvement in private business while in office. These initiatives build on the five anti-corruption commitments made by the president after the formation of the Republic’s first government in September 2011.
Hilde F. Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary General said the government has underlined its strong commitment to fight corruption and rapidly build institutions. These are bold decisive steps that will put the government on the right footing and attract investors.
"The South Sudanese have struggled for years to win their freedom. The key now is to provide the dividends of peace to the population. This involves expanding the economy, helping children to attend school, building roads, and improving health care. Conferences like the one being held in Washington help to consolidate necessary international support," she further stressed.