During a joint visit to South Sudan, the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, committed to deepening their collaboration for displaced people and host communities in the country.
Since the start of the war in Sudan 300 days ago, more than half a million people have arrived in South Sudan, most of them South Sudanese who had been in Sudan for decades. Many are heading back to villages that barely have any services and where there is no humanitarian assistance available. Sudanese refugees are being relocated to refugee settlements where resources were already overstretched.
UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Raouf Mazou, and the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, concluded a joint visit to South Sudan this week.
Accompanied by South Sudan’s Deputy Commissioner for Refugee Affairs, John Dabi, they visited a refugee camp and transit centre hosting arrivals from Sudan, giving them an opportunity to hear from affected people. In the capital, Juba, they met with high-level government officials, who welcomed the partnership and joint collaboration addressing the pressing needs in the country. The delegation also met with representatives of the donor community.
Recalling the African Development Bank’s third Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa (2022-2026), which puts an emphasis on conflict prevention and inclusive post-conflict reconstruction and development, Vice President Akin-Olugbade said: “We are committed to responding to the biggest development challenges facing the African continent, including preventing and addressing forced displacement. Our collaboration and partnership with UNHCR is an important and critical way to advance resilience and durable solutions for refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities in South Sudan.”
UNHCR’s Mazou added: “South Sudan has generously kept its border open to receive people fleeing the war in Sudan, but they can’t do it alone. More humanitarian and development support is needed to deliver life-saving assistance and enable conflict-affected communities to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.”
Their visit highlights the value of investments in refugee and returnee areas and the local communities hosting them, as well as the crucial role of partnerships between humanitarian and development actors. It follows an earlier joint visit focused on establishing durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in Central African Republic in March 2023.