May 19, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Saturday said it has received a grant amounting to $38 million from the World Bank, to support infrastructure projects, specifically building roads in rural areas.
South Sudan has also received financial assistance from Qatar, after it lost 98 percent of its budget when it shut down oil-production earlier this year as part of a transit fee dispute with Khartoum.
The country’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kosti Manibe Ngai, on Friday met with the World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan, Laura Kullenburg, and signed a grant agreement aimed at improving rural roads in South Sudan.
Speaking to reporters shortly after sealing a deal with the bank, minister Ngai expressed gratitude for the grant.
“Roads are the basis for trade and job creation, for getting services to people, for bringing our communities together. These funds will be used to upgrade and rehabilitate rural roads linking productive agricultural areas to market centres, and to strengthen the ability of the Ministry of Roads & Bridges to manage rural infrastructure", Ngai said.
The minister described the roads project as a way to take services to people in rural areas so that they are not forced to migrate to urban centers.
“This project will also transport farm inputs to productive areas, and encourage farmers to produce given there is access to the market,” he said.
The rural roads project was conceived as part of a joint project between the government and development partners to develop the feeder roads network of South Sudan. The project is aligned with the priorities set out in the three-year South Sudan Development Plan (SSDP).
“The project has three components - rehabilitating selected rural roads, road maintenance and spot improvements, and support for institutional development in the Ministry of Roads & Bridges for rural infrastructure management. Besides substantially benefiting farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in South Sudan, the long term effort is expected to help ensure food security”, he explained
Kullenburg explained the grant came from the South Sudan Transition Trust Fund (SSTF), established by the World Bank to provide bridge financing to the new nation in period between its independence until such a time when South Sudan begins to benefit from the services offered to member countries.