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An Interview with South Sudan Deputy Minister for Planning, Mary Jervase Yak
Shortly after signing a protocol agreement with the Bank Group, for South Sudan to become a member of the institution, the country’s Deputy Minister for Planning, Mary Jervase Yak affirmed that: “There is no place like home… Nearly one year ago, we got our independence, which was a landmark. Today, as we sign an agreement to become member of the African Development Bank, we fell it is another historical landmark.”
Question: What are your impressions today after signing the protocol agreement for your country to become a member of the African Development Bank?
Answer: This is a milestone in the relations between the African Development Bank Group and South Sudan. We in South Sudan are extremely honored. As a member country of the Bank Group, we are very proud of our continent. Personally, I am glad to be here in Arusha today, to sign this historical protocol agreement with the Bank. On behalf of my country, the people and the Government of South Sudan, please allow me to express my gratitude to the African Development Bank Group, its management and staff, President Donald Kaberuka and its Boards.
I am also glad because the African Development Bank has already launched few development projects in my country. Now that we have been admitted as a full member of the institution, we shall benefit from its development programmes.
Question: Your country has also signed on to the membership of other organizations. Could you tell us about the historical significance of this ceremony?
Answer: You know, there is no place like home. Nearly one year ago, we got our independence, which was a landmark. Today, as we are signing an agreement to become member of the African Development Bank, we fell it is another historical landmark. We now have the feeling of belonging to a family, the African Development Bank being a mother. For the people of South Sudan, we believe there is no other better place than a mother’s arms where you run to when you are seeking comfort.
Having said this, I would like to let you know that South Sudan has always considered the AfDB as a trusted partner, since the beginning of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. We have expected this day to come for far too long. Therefore, it is a big event for us in South Sudan to join the Bank. This is due to the fact that the Bank has financed and taken a great part in the formulation of various policy documents, including: The Seven core Governance Functions; The Growth Strategy; The National Development Plan 2011-2012. The Bank has also financed the Institutional Capacity Building Project for Poverty Reduction and Good Governance. The AfDB has also signed a grant agreement with the Ministry of finance, with a view to strengthening Public Finance Management at the University of Juba. All these commitments have been demonstrated in the Bank’s plans to establish its Field Office in Juba by the beginning of the second quarter 2012, which is a major step, most likely, to help fast track projects implementation and enhance policy dialogue. These various operations of the Bank in our country bear a concrete testimony to its commitment to contribute to social economic development and poverty reduction.
So the Government and the people of South Sudan were waiting for this historical day to come. And this accord will give an impetus to our relations. Therefore, we are glad and look forward to finalizing the remaining administrative processes with the Bank.
Question: Honorable Governor, as a new member of the Bank, what specific message would you like to send to the Bank and to the African continent?
Answer: The government and the people of South Sudan extend their warmest greetings to all those who have worked to make our dream happen. We would like to express gratitude to the Bank and to all its member countries. My last word is that we trust the African Development Bank and we place our hope on the Bank to help South Sudan to implement development and fight poverty. We look forward to having strong partnership with the Bank. We thank you. God Bless the African Development Bank.