The African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, after a recently concluded three-day visit to South Sudan, has reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to supporting the country’s development agenda.
During her visit, Akin-Olugbade held meetings with high-level government officials, including First Vice President Riek Machar and key ministers, to discuss strategic priorities and development needs. VP Machar expressed gratitude for the Bank’s ongoing partnership and appealed for increased support in vital sectors such as agriculture, energy, roads, and water and sanitation.
In response, Akin-Olugbade pledged a sixty per cent increase in Bank financing to South Sudan in 2024, emphasizing the importance of enhancing agricultural production and productivity for improved food security.
“The Bank has allocated $46.7 million to support agriculture value chain development,” she stated, highlighting initiatives focused on rice, sesame, sorghum, and fish production.
The African Development Bank’s ongoing portfolio in South Sudan currently stands at $160 million, focusing on key sectors such as agriculture, skills and social development, and governance.
Akin-Olugbade commended South Sudan for its commitment to implementing the Food and Agriculture Compact program, following the Dakar 2 Summit held in January 2023.
The mission also explored avenues for closer collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to provide enhanced support to forcibly displaced persons amid escalating conflicts in Africa. Akin-Olugbade, accompanied by UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner-Operations Raouf Mazou, visited the Gendrassa refugee camp in Maban County to assess the situation firsthand.
Additionally, Akin-Olugbade visited a Bank-financed Resilience Water for Improved Livelihood project in Juba, which has significantly improved the water supply infrastructure in the city. She also engaged with staff members at the African Development Bank’s Country Office.
Director of the Transition Support Coordination Office, Yero Baldeh; Country Manager for South Sudan, Themba Bhebhe; and the Chief Program Officer, Gassia Assadourian were present during the visit.