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Japan makes major contribution to southern Sudan

WFP has welcomed a major contribution of US$10 million from the Japanese Government to WFP to repair key transportation routes in post-conflict southern Sudan to help people get back on their feet.

The Government of Japan announced a US$100 million aid package in support of Sudan at the donor conference held in Oslo this April. Japan’s donation of US$10 million, announced today, is the second contribution to WFP’s operations in Sudan through WFP this year, after the JPY530 million (US$4.8 million) donation confirmed in July.

This brings the total of the donations from Japan to the country through WFP to US$14.8 million this year. These donations contribute to achieving “human security” and “peace building”, two of the basic policy principles underlying Japanese official development assistance.

Essential transport routes

WFP plans to help rehabilitate more than 2,000 kilometres of essential transport routes in southern Sudan. However, work on the stretch from the provisional capital of Rumbek to Wau has not yet commenced due to lack of funds.

The new contribution from Japan will allow WFP to finally start the work on the essential road. WFP needs US$183 million for the road repairs and mine clearance programme until the end of next year, but had received just US$70.5 million so far.

The Japanese donation will be used to repair three-quarters of the vital stretch of road – measuring 218 kilometres – between Rumbek and Wau. That will include clearing the route of landmines.

Peace dividend

“The support from Japan will provide people in southern Sudan with an immediate peace dividend,” said Mihoko Tamamura, Director of WFP Office in Japan.

“The emergency road repairs will not only make it easier to transport humanitarian aid, they will also enable refugees and displaced people to return home and improve access to markets.”

Returning to southern Sudan

Following the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement in January this year, some 600,000 people are expected to return to southern Sudan, having been forced to leave their homes by decades of civil war.

Ensuring that returnees have enough to eat while they rebuild their communities is one of the most basic pillars for consolidating peace.

Unfortunately, the WFP operation has received only US$ 177.5 million of the US$ 302 million required until end this year, a funding shortfall of 40 percent.

Concrete step

Japan was among the members of the G-8 Summit held in Gleneagles, Scotland, last July to pledge to double aid to Africa in the next three years as well as increase the volume of its official development assistance (ODA) by US$10 billion in aggregate over the next five years.

The aid package announced today is a concrete step in this direction, and is clearly in line with the Millennium Development Goals which are being discussed at the 2005 World Summit in New York.