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On Friday, September 23, 2016, the African Development Bank’s Executive Director (ED) for Sudan, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, concluded a three-day familiarization mission to Sudan. ED Oku-Afari represents a constituency of five countries at the Bank, comprising Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Gambia. This mission sought to acquaint him with firsthand knowledge of developments in Sudan as well as the state of the Bank’s development operations in the country.
Joined by the Bank’s Resident Representative in Sudan, Abdul Kamara, the ED held meetings with the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Badreldin Mahmoud Abbas; the State Minister of Finance, Magdi Yasin; the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Ibrahim El-Dukheri; and the Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, Mohamed Ali.
The Executive Director’s discussion with these authorities focused on the country’s economic challenges and development opportunities, which will help guide the African Development Bank’s engagement and development priorities in the country in the short to medium terms. At the Ministry of Finance, the Executive Director was briefed about the African Development Bank’s far reaching interventions, especially in the areas of public financial and economic management, with an ongoing intervention of $34 million which primarily aims to introduce the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) in the country, a system that will bring more efficiency, transparency and accountability in public financial management, both on the revenue and expenditure sides. At the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, the Executive Director was briefed on various targeted interventions including the capacity building project for improved service delivery in the health sector, which among others, will create social safety nets to increase the access of poor communities to health services through health insurance schemes, rehabilitating health centers and training medical practitioners and health professional in the states of white Nile and North Kordofan. On his part, the agriculture minister enumerated the tremendous potential of agriculture to play a central role in the diversification of the Sudanese economy, welcoming the Bank’s upcoming support of $28 million to create employment for the Youth in Agriculture (the ENABLE Youth Program). The Executive Director also held discussions with African Ambassadors in Sudan, as well as Project Coordinators of the Bank’s eleven ongoing operations in key sectors amounting to about $200 million.
The ED took note of the efforts of the government and development partners to address Sudan’s economic challenges. In particular he encouraged the Government to sustain the economic reforms and continue to create an enabling environment for the success of development efforts. He also encouraged the project coordinators to accelerate implementation efforts to ensure that the development impacts are achieved to improve the lives of the beneficiaries.
The ED underscored the Bank’s prioritization and emphasis on the ‘High Fives’, notably Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. These five priorities, he added, would continue to shape the Bank’s strategic direction to address Africa’s development challenges in the decade ahead.