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Cablegate: Southern Sudan - Administrator Fore's Site Visit to Juba

VZCZCXRO4300
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1927/01 3391522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051522Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9454
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001927

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF A/S FRAZIER, AF/SPG, S/E NATSIOS, PRM, AND ALSO PASS
USAID/W
USAID FOR ADMINISTRATOR FORE, BFEINSTEIN, AA/AFR KALMQUIST, AA/DCHA
MHESS, DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/SFO, USAID/REDSO
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND BPITTMAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: SOUTHERN SUDAN - ADMINISTRATOR FORE'S SITE VISIT TO JUBA


KHARTOUM 00001927 001.2 OF 003


-------
Summary
-------

1. On November 23, the USAID Administrator and Director of Foreign
Assistance Henrietta H. Fore, Charge d'Affaires Alberto M.
Fernandez, Assistant Administrator for USAID's Africa Bureau
(AA/AFR) Kate Almquist, and the USAID/Sudan Mission Director
traveled to Juba, Southern Sudan, to review progress on USAID-funded
development projects. During the visit, Administrator Fore
expressed firm USG commitment to the implementation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and noted the progress that had
been made towards development in Southern Sudan. The delegation met
with representatives from the Government of Southern Sudan's (GOSS)
Ministry of Transportation and Roads (MTR) and the Ministry of
Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP). In addition, Administrator
Fore visited three USAID-funded project sites: a Juba-Yei road
maintenance site, the newly built MTR facility, and a new soil
testing laboratory. End Summary.

2. USAID is implementing activities that will provide critically
needed rehabilitation to major transportation routes in Southern
Sudan. The USG, along with other international donors, has
committed to support the rehabilitation of the transportation
corridor between Juba and neighboring countries. The Juba-Nimule
road will provide year-round access to neighboring Kenya and Uganda.
In particular, it will support access to Mombasa, the major port
for East and Central Africa. In the next two years, USAID plans to
rehabilitate 377 km of roadways and reconstruct nine bridges,
significantly reducing transportation costs, improving highway
safety, supporting the integration of Southern Sudan with
neighboring countries, and generating social and economic benefits.

---------------------------------------
Visit to Road Maintenance Training Site
---------------------------------------

3. In Juba, Administrator Fore met with the MTR Under Secretary
Daniel Wani, MTR staff, four newly trained road maintenance
contractors, and the contractors' road works crews at a site along
the Juba-Yei road where approximately 60 trainees were repairing a
40 km stretch of road, which is a vital link to trade. Under
Secretary Wani thanked USAID for training Southern Sudanese

SIPDIS
contractors to perform labor-based road maintenance work and
introduced the supervisors of the Southern Sudanese Road Maintenance
Contractors, two of whom were women. Each of the supervisors
expressed their gratitude to USAID for the six-week course on road
maintenance in Kissi Kenya and the opportunity to put into practice
what they have learned, while earning money. As a result of the
training, one supervisor said that he is now a "road doctor."
Supervisors mentioned that labor-based road maintenance provides
employment to local people where the road work is being done and
provides additional opportunities for the communities.
Administrator Fore expressed her appreciation to the supervisors and
stated that she was impressed that women were involved in the road
maintenance project as supervisors and engineers.

-------------
Press Q and A
-------------

4. Administrator Fore briefly took questions from the assembled
press. During the session, Administrator Fore reaffirmed USG
commitment to the CPA and cited examples of peace dividends, such as
the labor-based maintenance initiative. Administrator Fore
commented that USAID aims to help the GOSS and the Sudanese people
become more self-reliant, achieve long-term sustainability of
development projects, and ensure peace and stability in the region.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Visit to Ministry of Transportation and Roads Facility
--------------------------------------------- ---------

5. The delegation toured the USAID-funded newly built MTR facility
and received a briefing on USAID's infrastructure projects from the
GOSS Minister of Transportation David Deng Athorbei. Administrator
Fore and Minister Deng exchanged ideas for continued collaboration.
Minister Deng expressed appreciation for USAID's support to Southern
Sudan and Administrator Fore's visit to the region to see first hand
the progress being made by the MTR. The Minister stated that

KHARTOUM 00001927 002.2 OF 003


USAID's support during the emergency road repair programs had opened
1,500 km of roadway in Southern Sudan and asked for continued
support to the MTR in building badly needed road systems.

6. Administrator Fore thanked the Minister and his team for the warm
welcome and agreed the country needed improved roads and stressed
the importance of roads as a tangible peace dividend that will help
facilitate returnees, generate employment, and improve trade within
the region and outside of Southern Sudan. Administrator Fore noted
that it is important that women are involved in road maintenance
work and welcomed continued partnership between the MTR and USAID.


7. USAID assisted the Ministry to build the new MTR compound, which
will house the roads agency in the future. Deng noted that the
Ministry and the compound did not exist at the signing of the CPA
and that through USAID's support MTR facilities are now operational.


--------------------------------------------- -----
Visit to Newly Constructed Soil Testing Laboratory
--------------------------------------------- -----

8. In the past, soil testing could only be done in Khartoum or
neighboring countries, such as Uganda and Kenya. With the
completion of the material testing laboratory, soil for Southern
Sudan can now be tested in Juba, saving time in road planning and
construction.

9. Administrator Fore visited the newly built soil testing
laboratory and observed staff conducting laboratory tests. This
facility will provide testing of soil for road construction, as well
as the general construction industry. The Juba laboratory will also
serve as a training facility to open five other facilities in
Southern Sudan.

-------------------
Ministry of Finance
-------------------

10. Administrator Fore met with the GOSS Minister of Finance and
Economic Planning Kuol Athian Mawien to discuss progress on the
USAID-supported financial management systems. Minister Mawien
reported that while progress had been made through the training of
personnel in the ministries on the new financial management system,
additional IT equipment and training at the state and county level
were needed. The Minister reported that significant challenges with
collecting revenues still exist and border customs staff need more
training to collect customs revenue at the borders. For example,
from June to October, nine ministries overspent their budgets
because they had no internal controls.

11. The Minister stressed that additional peace dividends are
needed, especially as elections are approaching. The Minister noted
that USAID and the UN Development Program (UNDP) had worked with the
Ministry to develop a work plan for budget control and financial
management, which has addressed several of the issues that were
highlighted in the World Bank's recent report. The Minister intends
to implement a monthly system to track and manage budgets that will
be circulated to all ministries and the public.

12. When Administrator Fore asked what the Minister's priority for
assistance would be, the Minister replied that training for customs
personnel, budget management, and revenue collection, as well as
technical assistance on policy development. AA/AFR Almquist asked
for an update on the financial management system that USAID has
supported. The Minister reported that training had been conducted
at the level of ministries and now further training is needed at the
state and county level. In addition, equipment is needed to
implement the system. The USAID/Sudan Mission Director stated that
USAID sees the MFEP as a strategic partner in Southern Sudan,
particularly in the battle against corruption and that USAID is
committed to helping make the government work for the people of
Southern Sudan.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Visit to NEC Site and Interim USAID Office Compound
--------------------------------------------- ------

13. Administrator Fore visited the 19-acre piece of land that the

KHARTOUM 00001927 003.2 OF 003


GOSS has leased to the USG, without charge, for 99 years to allow
the USG to rapidly expand their presence in the region.
Construction at the site has not yet begun.

14. The Administrator also toured the USAID interim office compound,
which is currently under renovation but is expected to be ready for
use in April 2008. The interim office site will eventually have 40
workstations and allow USAID to bring to Juba the staff that are
critically needed to implement and oversee USAID-funded
reconstruction and development programs.

-------
Comment
-------

15. This is a critical time in Southern Sudan, when expectations for
peace dividends and development are high. With the census and
elections approaching, the need to deliver tangible results of peace
is increasingly important. The USG remains a key partner of the
GOSS and the Southern Sudanese people, maintaining its strong
support for implementation of the CPA. USAID has achieved visible
and important results through its infrastructure improvement project
and has enabled GOSS ministries to set up systems and policies for
providing public services in the region. USAID continues to work
closely with GOSS colleagues to resolve the challenges that have
arisen in preparing for the census and elections and managing the
region's financial resources.

16. AA/AFR Almquist and Administrator Fore's staff have cleared this
cable.

FERNANDEZ

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