South Sudan became the world's newest independent nation this summer, six years after an historic peace agreement helped end decades of civil war. The United States has been involved in the region over much of that time, first in providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the fighting, then as a negotiator in the peace talks, and as a supporter of the referendum that set the stage for nationhood.
But our commitment to South Sudan didn’t end there, and new efforts are under way to help establish a viable government and lay the groundwork for economic growth. At a recent conference on engagement in South Sudan held in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated our nation’s sustained involvement there.
"A great deal needs to be done to translate the promise of independence into concrete improvements…. We must continue our work together to maintain peace and security, which are preconditions for successful development anywhere."
At the conference, South Sudanese leaders presented their vision for long-term growth to U.S. and other government officials, along with representatives from non-governmental organizations and the private sector. They made key policy statements regarding plans for government accountability, particularly in managing oil revenue for the South Sudanese and addressing their human capital deficits. They also spoke of how they will create an environment hospitable for private investment.
The United States is helping this transition with a plan developed and approved by South Sudanese leaders as they take the lead role in creating a stable and transparent and accountable government that provides essential services for its people. The U.S. role will include helping the government promote peace building, agricultural-based economic growth and providing services such as public education and primary health care. We will also coordinate closely with others in the international community, including the new United Nations mission working there to preserve peace, safeguard human rights and protect civilians.
Kevin Mullalley directs the U.S. Agency for International Development’s mission for South Sudan in the capital, Juba.
"As the country takes the leadership in its development, we are committed to supporting them in trying to achieve their vision.”