July 22, 2011 (JUBA) - The fight against corruption in South Sudan will only be meaningful if the country’s parliamentarians adopt a tough and comprehensive approach towards ending it, a delegation from the European Union (EU) advised the new nation.
Led by Patrice Tirolien, the French Social Democrat parliamentarian, the delegation from the development committee in the EU parliament said all grants allocated to Africa’s 54th nation will all have to be accounted for in a proper and transparent manner.
Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Niccolò Rinaldi, the Italian Liberal Democrat said: “The European Union (EU) must apply the lessons learned in other areas where coordination among donors and optimum use of available funds are paramount.”
“We call on the South Sudanese to focus on the fight against corruption and on local empowerment to avoid a dependency culture, and also to create a sovereign fund for oil revenues with strict criteria for their use for development,” he added.
During their three-day visit, the EU legislators also visited Rumbek, the Lakes State capital to obtain a first hand assessment of the real needs of the citizens, in addition to holding discussions with UN agencies and other EU representatives within South Sudan.
Citing promotion of human rights and democracy as fundamental principles in attaining economic development within the new country, the EU appealed to other development partners to join hands and assist South Sudan in its recovery efforts.
“We are conscious that the country is facing great challenges and that the youngest state of the world will need all the support from the international community in order to become a prosperous, pacific and secure country, capable of meeting the demands of its population,” said Titolien, who spoke through a translator.
The delegation further decried the high rate of infant mortality; one of the much-hyped Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), saying the region still lags behind in achieving UN-initiated goals expected to be realized by 2015.
Meanwhile an estimated €200m has been earmarked by the EU to support the implementation South Sudan’s forthcoming "2011-13 Development Plan", targeting projects such as education, health, agriculture, food security and democratic governance.
The EU delegation to Sudan is due to present its report for discussion to the regional body’s parliament in Brussels, ahead of the long-awaited donor conference scheduled for October later this year.
Over the past four years, the EU reportedly contributed nearly €160m to support water management projects funded by the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) of the European Commission.