South Sudan Seeks AfDB Membership

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Tunis, 20 May, 2011 - The Government of Southern Sudan has formally applied for membership in the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group. The territory’s finance and economic planning minister, David Deng Athorbei, urged the institution to expedite action on the membership process, building on the positive and ongoing role the Bank Group is playing in South Sudan.

The government keenly looks forward to AfDB for support in the area of infrastructure, critical for linking the emerging nation to its immediate neighbors in East Africa; notably Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. The Government of Southern Sudan used the occasion of the visit of AfDB Regional Vice President for Operations, Aloysius Uche Ordu, in early March to formally request the Bank Group’s assistance in these areas.

“I appreciate the support we are receiving from the African Development Bank Group in the areas of capacity building, good governance, poverty reduction and support to our development plan,” Mr.  Athorbei said.   

Following a referendum in January, in which the majority of its population voted in favour of independence from the North, South Sudan is expected to proclaim its independence on 9 July, 2011.

Vice President Uche Ordu said: “We are committed to work alongside the government and people of South Sudan as they embark on their quest for inclusive growth and sustainable development. The formal request for membership will be treated with expediency.”

An AfDB delegation led by its Sudan field office resident representative, Abdul Kamara, is currently in Juba to participate in a two-day meeting that will review the South Sudan National Development Plan 2011-2013. This plan will serve as the country’s Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, a document designed to help the new country to strategically address its efforts to reduce poverty, working with the AfDB and other development partners. The AfDB team will meet with Minister Athorbei next week on the national development plan and how the Bank can help.

The Bank Group has continued its support to the North, where it concluded a two-day peer learning workshop on arrears clearance, debt relief and donor coordination, which brought together policy makers and experts from eight African countries to share experiences and lessons with their Sudanese peers.

If the request for membership is approved, South Sudan will, along with Turkey and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, become members of the AfDB Group, which is currently made up of 77 countries of which 53 are regional and 24 are non-regional members.

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