Juba, May 18, 2012 (SSNA) — Yesterday, Minister of Finance & Economic Planning Kosti Manibe Ngai met with World Bank Country Manager Laura Kullenburg, to sign a grant agreement aimed at improving rural roads in South Sudan. The minister expressed gratitude for the US$38 million grant saying, “Roads are the basis for trade and job creation, for getting services to people, for bringing our communities together.”
The funds will be used to upgrade and rehabilitate rural roads linking productive agricultural areas to market centers, and to strengthen the ability of the Ministry of Roads & Bridges to manage rural infrastructure.
The minister described the roads project as way to take services to rural people so that they are not forced to migrate to urban centers. “This project will also transport farm inputs to productive areas, and encourage farmers to produce given there is access to the market,” he said.
World Bank Country Manager Laura Kullenburg explained the grant came from the South Sudan Transition Trust Fund (SSTF), established by the World Bank to provide bridge financing to the new nation in period between its independence until such a time when South Sudan begins to benefit from the services offered to member countries.
The rural roads project was conceived as part of the joint government and development partners’ initiative to develop the feeder roads network of South Sudan. The project is aligned with the priorities set out in the three-year South Sudan Development Plan (SSDP)
The project has three components – rehabilitating selected rural roads, road maintenance and spot improvements, and support for institutional development in the Ministry of Roads & Bridges for rural infrastructure management. Besides substantially benefiting farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in South Sudan, the long term effort is expected to help ensure food security.