Charles K Mark
South Sudan government and partners, on Thursday unveiled a new $129 million Productive Safety Net for Socio-economic Opportunities Project (SNSOP).
The project is expected to benefit more than 96,000 vulnerable households in 15 selected counties across the country through cash transfers and income-generating livelihood opportunities. It will also strengthen the effectiveness of the national safety net delivery system.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Josephine Joseph Lagu said South Sudan is currently undergoing a transition and steadily moving from a humanitarian to a development context.
“Which means that more efforts need to be exerted in the provision of social protection opportunities,” Minister Lagu stressed.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Gender and Child, Social Welfare, Aya Benjamin Warila stated that the project provides unique opportunity of offering much-needed services to vulnerable communities.
“It also contributes to the further strengthening of the nascent National Safety Net Delivery System in South Sudan.” She noted.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said he was thrilled to know that SNSOP will ease access to socio-economic benefits for underprivileged households.
“SNSOP is a timely move, and for me it is very important, how we plant seeds that bloom into flowers to advance our human capital. We are committed to strengthening our institutions, and SNSOP helps us deliver efficient safety net delivery systems for the people.” He underscored.
The four-year project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) and the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare (MGCSW), with the support of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan, said in a statement that SNSOP marks a milestone towards strengthening the social safety net system in South Sudan.
“The ongoing insecurity and weak economic performance have worsened poverty and deepened vulnerabilities, driven by escalating food insecurity and repeated climate-induced natural disasters in South Sudan.” Exclaimed Dione.
He, however, reiterated that the World Bank is committed to making a lasting contribution to the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged households through productive, social, and economic inclusion opportunities.
The project will thus support efforts to link safety nets more explicitly to human capital accumulation in South Sudan as well as help develop a national government-led safety net system.
The theme ‘Enhancing Social and Economic Inclusion Opportunities through the Social Safety Net System in South Sudan’ marked the launch of the SNSOP with a ground-breaking ceremony graced by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Honourable Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol, as the Guest of Honour.
The launch of the project was attended by a cross-section of senior government officials, including representatives of development partners and key stakeholders, providing them with the opportunity to discuss the role of social Safety Nets in Strengthening Household Resilience and Livelihoods in South Sudan.