Kuwait conference to pave way for human development and revival of East Sudan
Khartoum, 25 November 2010 – The International Investors and Donors Conference on East Sudan to be held in Kuwait on 1-2 December will open up a roadmap for the development of a region that is rich in natural wealth but home to some of the poorest people in the country. This was stated by the President’s Advisor on Eastern Sudan, H.E Mustafa Osman Ismail, at the Donors’ Consultation, here today. The meeting was jointly chaired by Government of Sudan (GoS), the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Preparations are nearing completion for the two-day Kuwait Conference, to be attended by nearly 200 business leaders and representatives of international development organizations. The conference will be inaugurated by the Emir of Kuwait, H.E Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Speaking at the pre-Conference Donors’ Consultation, Mr. Ismail disclosed that as of date 22 countries, 50 regional and international organizations and over 90 Non-governmental Organizations have indicated their interest in pledging support for over 180 development and investment projects developed for the Conference. The projects cover needs of the people of the region in the three areas of services, infrastructure and investment.
The donors’ consultation was held at the UNDP Country Office in Khartoum. Representatives from the Governments of United States, Great Britain, European Union, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Turkey, France, Canada, Sweden, Japan and South Korea attended today’s consultation.
The senior Presidential aide said that as part of the efforts to foster a conducive environment for business and development projects to be implemented in the region, all restrictions on movement and travel throughout the Eastern Sudan region have been lifted forthwith.
The Kuwait conference is being hosted by the Government of Kuwait under the aegis of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED). Other lead partners for the Conference include the Government of Sudan, the East Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Conference is being held in fulfillment of the commitment under the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement signed in October 2006. One of the three major Protocols signed as part of the Peace Agreement called for an international conference to leverage investment and donor funding to deal with chronic under-development of the region.
Safe drinking water, education, health, capacity development, micro-finance and food security would be the focus of projects in the services sector to be open for donor pledges at the Kuwait Conference. The infrastructure projects to be prioritized for funding include development of clean energy resources, roads and bridges construction and sanitation would. Promotion of agricultural ad industrial development as well as fisheries, animal husbandry and tourism form the bulk of the project proposal in the investment sector that the Government of Sudan will seek market to the business community.
In response to a question, Mr. Ismail said that the Council of Ministers would be convening on Thursday to approve its own commitment of financial assistance for the reconstruction and development of the East Sudan region. The region comprises the three states of Gedarif, Kassala and Red Sea with a combined population estimated to be in the region of 5 million people. The region is rich in agricultural and mineral resources and is being seen as a potential hub for the growth of mining, tourism, gas and oil exploration and development of agricultural and animal husbandry.
The region, bordering Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea suffered from continuous conflict in the past decades between the Government of Sudan and rebels from the Eastern Front. With assistance of the United Nations and other actors, the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement was signed in October 2006 that led to the emergence of durable peace in the region.
Details of the development and investment projects profiles to be discussed at the Kuwait International Investors and Donors Conference can be seen at http://www.kuwait-fund.org/eastsudanconference/
Kumar Tiku: Head, Communications Unit, UNDP Sudan: email@example.com