Speech of H.E. Ambassador Robert van den Dool
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan
On the occasion of the launching of the Sudan Family Support Programme
Office of the Cabinet, 27 September, 12h00.
Your Excellency Dr. Abdullah Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan,
Your Excellences Ministers of the transitional government of the Republic of the Sudan,
Your Excellency Mr. Ousmane Dione, Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan of the World Bank,
Colleagues Ambassadors and charge d' Affaires from the European Union Member States,
Your Excellences Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps,
Your Excellences representatives of International Organizations accredited to Sudan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Salam Aleikum, Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim.
Some twelve months ago, the people of Sudan, owners of the peaceful revolution, tasked the government of Prime Minister Hamdok with repairing Sudan. Indeed, the country was thoroughly broken. The task encompassed first to achieve peace, second to build democracy and third to reform and revive the economy. All this was, of course, aiming to give to the people what they demanded in the revolution and what they deserve: a better life, with equal rights for all, in a peaceful and stable environment.
From the start, the European Union and its member states have been staunch supporters of this government and its transition project. Directly after PM Hamdok's visit to Brussels last November, we realized a support programme for the Prime Minister's office, to boost policy making and implementing capacity. We also put together a transformation support package to the tune of EUR 100 million, which aims at supporting economic reform, creation of job opportunities, notably for women and youth, social security measures and democratisation. From this package, some 45 million Euro was already earmarked to contribute to the implementation of the Sudan Family Support Programme.
At the occasion of the Berlin Donor Partners Conference in June last, The EU more than doubled its support for the SFSP, to EUR 93 million, or some USD 110 million. In parallel, EU member states also pledged bilateral support efforts towards the SFSP. As often observed, at conferences like the Berlin one, typically pledges are made, and then it is difficult to trace these pledges all the way through to disbursement. Today, however, TEAM EUROPE is making good on the pledge to stand by Sudan with support, both politically and financially.
It is my honour to sign with the World Bank the agreement which will release USD 110 million for the Sudan Family Support Programme. I am equally proud to announce at the same time, EU member states Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands are joining forces with the EU in an unprecedented Team Europe effort to boost the start of the SFSP.
Allow me at this point, to invite my colleague Team Europe Members to announce their respective contributions to this all important social safety net initiative by the Government.
In addition, I would also like to note that other Team Europe members, notably Ireland and Finland have made a contribution.
Together, as Team Europe, we are thus unlocking more than 150 million Euros (USD 175 million) in support for the SFSP, thereby also helping the World Bank to release a first tranche of their pre arrears clearing funds, to the tune of USD 200 million. All in all, this is a unique milestone for the Family Support Programme, and thus for this government's transition project. This support will help to implement the necessary economic reforms, while at the same time protecting the most vulnerable families in Sudan, providing a much needed ''cash cushion'' in these very difficult times.
Yesterday, at the opening of the National Economic Conference, His Excellency Prime Minister Hamdok referred to the Sudanese dream of a developmental state, whose realization had been long overdue. Your Excellency, now is the time, the dream is achievable and today Sudan's European friends reaffirm their support for your government in pursuing this dream and making Sudan's dream into a success story, as a unique example of peaceful transition.
Regarding the two other pillars of the transition tripod, achieving peace and building democracy, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the transitional government for progress achieved. A truly comprehensive peace agreement is around the corner and I urge all parties still outside this all important process to rise to the occasion, in putting the interest of the people first and joining this unique peace initiative. Building a democracy will not be easy, but this peace agreement charts out a participatory and comprehensive roadmap to towards a democratic dispensation.
Coming back to today's ceremony, I would like to conclude by thanking all those who have contributed to this agreement and congratulating them on its achievement. It is truly a milestone on the way to a prosperous, peaceful Sudan with equal opportunity for all.
I thank you for your kind attention.