Southern Sudan, which has received many millions of dollars in aid over the years, has done an about face and become a donor. The regional government of southern Sudan, thanks to the peace accord and oil revenue sharing, has donated $30 million to the World Food Program.
Greg Barrow is a spokesman for the WFP. From London, he talked to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the donation.
“This is a $30 million donation from the government of south Sudan, the first of its kind that the World Food Program has received. And this donation will be used for an incredibly important project that’s been underway, a project to rebuild more than 3,000 kilometers of roads across the south at a cost of $183 million. Now we were running shot of funds, so this $30 million injection from the government of south Sudan is extremely welcome,” he says.
So how does the World Food Program get involved in road building? Barrow says, “There’s a very obvious reason for this. Roads are the communication structure in any country. Roads are the means by which markets function and food is moved around. And when you go to southern Sudan you realize that this is a part of the world where infrastructure has been allowed to crumble, where roads in many cases are non-existent. And even if people can grow their own food, they are unable to transport it to market.
So, in the long term, by rebuilding roads, by clearing away the unexploded mines that have been laid in areas where roads should be, we are opening up the whole region – a huge region – in the biggest country in Africa to markets that were non-existent before. This in a way is a long term fix to ensure that the people of southern Sudan will be able to feed themselves,” Barrow says.