South Sudan’s international partners have indicated they could raise their contributions to the country by US$300 million over the approximately US$1.3 billion which they gave to the African nation this year.
This is one of the outcome of the South Sudan Economic Partners Forum, hosted by the United States in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
The forum was held in coordination with the European Union, Norway and the United Kingdom, with more than forty other governments and international organisations.
South Sudan, as a leading member of the g7+ group of fragile states, proposed a compact with international partners to engender mutual commitments towards greater reform and aid effectiveness.
It was then agreed that a broad range of stakeholders will develop a partnership compact for South Sudan, which will include mutually-agreed policy benchmarks for the Government of South Sudan, matched with commitments from partners to build capacity and improve the effectiveness of aid.
Once finalised, the compact is intended to provide an umbrella agreement for innovative financing from a range of international partners, including through proposed additional support for education and health sector salaries and the development of a new South Sudan
Partnership Fund to support capacity building for good governance, investments in priority sectors and support for basic services.
Convinced that a thriving private sector is critical to job creation, improved livelihoods and economic growth, international partners also agreed to support the Government of South Sudan to organise a Private Sector Investment Conference in the country’s capital city, Juba,
in late 2013.
The forum marked the start of an enhanced partnership to strengthen governance, political inclusiveness and sustainable development in South Sudan.
At the forum, the partners reviewed South Sudan’s progress over the challenging past 18 months, welcomed the Government’s fiscal and economic strategy, and agreed on the outlines of a compact based on mutual commitments to reform and international engagement.
The Government of South Sudan highlighted the major macro-economic challenges the new nation has faced over the past 18 months and key reform priorities moving forward.
The shutdown of oil production in January 2012 sparked a severe fiscal crisis. In response, the Government of South Sudan has undertaken to put in place fiscal and monetary policies to stabilise the macro-economy and is currently negotiating an economic programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Following the recent agreement between South Sudan and Sudan to resume oil production and open borders for trade, the Government of South Sudan has committed to put in place additional policy measures to establish macroeconomic stability, strengthen governance, guarantee political space and fundamental rights, enhance the management of public finances and natural resources, combat corruption, increase capacity for basic social services, and boost broad-based economic growth in order to transform the lives of the South Sudanese people.
Participants in the forum applauded progress achieved in implementation of the 27 September cooperation agreements between South Sudan and Sudan, which has led, among other benefits, to resumption of oil production in South Sudan with exportation through Sudan.
Direct consultations between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, which took place in Juba on 12 April, produced further progress toward finding practical solutions for the remaining outstanding issues and establishing mutually beneficial relations between the two peoples and their states.
South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, after voting to secede from Sudan under a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of internecine civil war.