Triangular co-operation for government capacity development in South Sudan
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Capacity Enhancement initiative provides about 200 civil servant support officers (CSSOs) from neighbouring countries to South Sudan where they are twinned with counterparts across a range of ministries and sectors to rapidly develop core government capacity in a coaching and mentoring scheme. The initiative is promising as a new and potentially innovative model of triangular cooperation for capacity development for four reasons. Firstly, it provides a model of large-scale support to rapid capacity development in core government functions. Secondly, the use of regional capacity to a certain degree mitigates the potential for resentment when external experts are brought into capacity-poor environments. Thirdly, the programme already shows some evidence of impact on core practices. Finally, there seems to be strong ownership of the programme at central levels of the South Sudanese government and among many of the twins.
In the future the IGAD initiative should maintain the number of CSSOs, but distribute them more evenly among ministries; ensure that core government functions and upstream institutions are included; deploy CSSOs at strategic and operational rather than tactical level; and ensure optimal matching between CSSOs and twins. Finally, more consideration should be given to programme implementation and in particular human resource management to ensure the maintenance of CSSOs’ morale.