World Bank approves $45 million for South Sudan local service delivery improvement

The World Bank approved a $45 million International Development Association (IDA) grant for South Sudan to continue to improve access to basic infrastructure and strengthen community institutions.  

The South Sudan Enhancing Community Resilience and Local Governance Project (ECRP) will benefit as many as 630,000 citizens who live in 21 of the country’s 79 counties by providing investments for community infrastructure and services prioritized by the communities, building inclusive and participatory community-led development. The ECRP will also help train designated community institutions on how to manage local development and  social tensions over service delivery to enable them to form the foundations of local governance structures that can be sustained in the longer-term. 

“I am very pleased that South Sudan is receiving much-needed assistance for basic service delivery, particularly in vulnerable areas that suffer gravely from impacts of violent conflict, high concentration of returnees, and natural hazards. Rebuilding social cohesion among different groups is crucial for the people and the country to move forward,” said Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, Minister of Finance and Planning for the Republic of South Sudan.  

Years of conflict and natural disasters have had a devastating effect on South Sudan’s economy and people. Millions of South Sudanese have been displaced, and the already scarce social and physical infrastructure have been damaged as protracted conflict has further eroded the social fabric, weakening both formal and informal institutions. Millions of South Sudanese do not have  proper access to basic services,  only 1 percent of rural households have access to electricity, and just 5 percent have access to improved sanitation.

Furthermore, more than 70 percent of school-age children are not attending school. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak could exacerbate the situation and push vulnerable people into poverty. Despite the immense need, local governments and community institutions have been unable to deliver services such as health and education, due to capacity and resource constraints. 

To help address some of the challenges, the World Bank has provided significant support since 2014 to aide in the strengthening of local institutions and the establishment of a sustainable community-driven service delivery system that helps foster social cohesion among different community groups. The ECRP will scale up these efforts, with a focus on conflict-affected and vulnerable areas.  

“South Sudan is going through a critical period of transition. The project helps improve people’s access to services in a more inclusive and equitable manner. The project also contributes to the building of a national local-level institutional structure for a more inclusive service delivery,” said Husam Abudagga, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan. 

The project will be implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services, in close collaboration with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and development partners.