United States Promotes Private Sector Engagement in Agriculture, Announces Plan for International Engagement Conference for South Sudan

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May 9, 2011
Public Information: 202-712-4810

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Friday, May 6, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, signed a communiqué on behalf of the U.S. Government to help boost private sector engagement in agriculture in southern Sudan, where the vast majority of people rely on agriculture for their livelihood. In spite of enormous potential of the agriculture sector, most southern Sudanese farmers grow only enough to feed their families, but not to earn an income. The Netherlands, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the International Fertilizer Development Center also signed the communiqué, agreeing with USAID that they will help develop southern Sudan's commercial agriculture sector by increasing agricultural productivity, supporting agribusinesses, and improving agricultural research and technology.

Following Administrator Shah's bilateral visit in Juba, he was joined by the development ministers of the United Kingdom, Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell, and Norway, Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim, on May 7 in Juba and May 8 in Khartoum. Together, they pledged their continuing commitment to Sudan, both north and south, and their support for the development of two economically viable and peaceful states, which adhere to principles of good governance, respect for human rights, and assistance to those affected by conflict, natural disaster, and population movements.

The United States, United Kingdom, and Norway-called the Troika because of the three countries' longstanding humanitarian and development partnership with Sudan and role in brokering the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)-stressed the importance of good relations between northern and southern Sudan and the resolution of critical outstanding CPA issues, including the status of Abyei, before Sudan and South Sudan separate. Among their priorities in southern Sudan is promoting private sector-led economic growth, combatting corruption and strengthening transparency in government.

The ministers announced their support for a USG hosted International Engagement Conference in Washington for South Sudan, which will become an independent nation July 9. The conference will provide an international platform for the future Government of South Sudan to present its vision for the country, and to engage development partners and private sector actors on priority areas for support and collaboration.

In addition, the Troika emphasized their commitment to meeting the immediate needs of conflict affected populations in Sudan, including Darfur. At a press conference May 8 in Khartoum, Administrator Shah emphasized the "absolute urgency around the need to maintain humanitarian access for organizations that are providing services to those in need, and even as we do this, we've had an effective conversation today about efforts to speed the process of recovery, so that people can ultimately leave settlements and camps and find viable communities which they can join and pursue effective livelihoods with access to agriculture, water, food, the basic elements of a more productive future, and begin to look forward as a common community."

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