EU conditions funding assistance to South Sudan

Christian Bader the EU Ambassador to South Sudan speaks to editors in Juba while Wim Vandenbroucke, the EU Head of Cooperation looks on

By Tapeng Michael Ohure

The European Union has budgeted a funding assistance to South Sudan but has conditioned that continuity in spending on the 11-year-old country is subject to positive results.

The bloc has spent 1 billion Euros in the country since independence but donors and tax papers are fatigued their money can’t change the state of affairs in the country that has experienced six years of a devastating crisis after independence in 2011.

The EU launched a multiannual indicative program for South Sudan running between 2021 and 2027.

Euros 208 million has been committed for 2021 to 2024 and the next three years would be conditioned to a review of achievements of the funding.

“One condition is that in 2024, if we don’t have a good story to mobilize resources, the tax payers will turn to other countries where there are positive stories,” Christian Bader, the EU ambassador to South Sudan told editors at a breakfast meeting in Juba on Thursday.

Funding priorities

The funding is basically to assist in ensuring a green and resilient economy, health and education and good governance, peace and rule of law for a fairer society in South Sudan.

 “Since independence, even since before the crisis, the donors have been supporting peace and humanitarian assistance and, in my opinion, somebody else doesn’t do their deal,” Bader said while questioning the political will from South Sudanese leaders to ensure peace and security.

The crisis which began in the country in 2013 left 400,000 people dead and displaced four million others, according to United Nations. It slashed the main source of funding, crude oil, and led to economic chaos.

Back and forth negotiations between warring parties led to a peace agreement which established a three-year transitional government that ends in 2023 and is expected to lead the country to democratic elections.

Several provisions which were to be completed in the agreement has including the formation of a hybrid court for accountability and forming a nation professional army inclusive of both government and opposition forces are yet incomplete.

Arms Embargo

This week, the government announced 50,000 soldiers for the professional force.

The delay on training and passing out of the forces for amalgamation into that army has been blamed by government on lack of funding and arms embargo slapped on the country, including from the European bloc.

“The problem in this country is not lack of weapons but excess of guns in the country,” Bader said.

“Everybody has weapons in this country and when you look at the weapons, its not an old rifle from your grandfather. Its these big big new RPGs, and even some armored vehicles are in this country,” he said.

People’s power

The country must strike for the goal of returning authority to the citizens so that they can involve themselves in affairs that concern them, Bader said.

“We believe at a certain point, the power goes back to the people,” Bader said.

“At a certain point, you can have elections which will not be completely [well organized] but acceptable by all,” he said.

“We can say it has not been completely okay but we can say yes, it is okay.”

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