South Sudan received a US$38 million World Bank grant on Monday to help rehabilitate feeder roads and increase access to rural communities in high agricultural potential areas, the Bank said in a statement, received by PANA here.
The grant comes weeks after South Sudan’s formal admission into the World Bank’s membership as the world’s newest state. The grant will also help improve food security and local service delivery efforts in the vast country, the Bank said.
It is part of a trust fund of US$75 million, which the Bank is using to provide early assistance to South Sudan.
South Sudan’s Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kosti Manibe Ngai, and Laura Kullenberg, the Country Manager for the World Bank in South Sudan, signed the South Sudan Rural Roads Project grant in Juba, the capital.
Ngai said the roads project was a means to boost the local agriculture sector and improve food security within the country.
“This project will make it possible to transport farm inputs to productive areas and surplus produce to consumption areas where there are food deficits,”
“Apart from helping to address this deficit, the grant aims to boost the local agriculture sector by upgrading and rehabilitating rural roads linking productive agricultural areas to market centers. This will help open up access to local markets, increase employment opportunities, and help improve the livelihoods of rural farmers,” the minister said.
The World Bank is financing efforts to develop South Sudan’s agricultural potential to improve the livelihood of the rural population. By improving access and connectivity to rural areas, the project will also help enhance basic services delivery efforts.
South Sudan has a road network of about 17,000 km, of which about 4,000 km are all weather roads. The country faces a huge infrastructure deficit, the Bank said.
South Sudanese farmers were often discouraged from producing more because of the lack of access to markets.
Kullenberg said the grant would also help the government in its efforts to diversify the economy.
“South Sudan is endowed with abundant material resources, including a large amount of good quality rain-fed agricultural land,” said Kullenberg. “By rehabilitating feeder roads, this project will help provide access to market and social services to many South Sudanese who currently live in hard to reach areas.”