24 March 2022, Juba South Sudan
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with Stanbic Bank to drive socio-economic development, livelihood transformation and private sector development in South Sudan. Heads of the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which provides a framework of cooperation to drive financial inclusion, youth and women entrepreneurship, job creation and trade promotion in the context of opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and address the challenges of economic livelihood.
The MoU will also facilitate the co-creation and co-development of solutions by the two organizations and progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly SDG 1 (Ending Poverty), SDG 5 (Promoting Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Descent work and Economic Growth, SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastrucrue), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production, and SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals.)
The partnership also seeks to leverage and enhance multi-stakeholder partnerships to mobilize reseources, share knowledge, expertise and technology to foster the achievement of sustainable peace and development in South Sudan.
Stimulating growth and enhancing business competitiveness
Under the MoU, UNDP and Stanbic Bank will promote access to essential aspects of socio-economic development, personal wealth creation, and financial protection for the most vulnerable, reduce inequalities and transforms lives. In line with this, the partnership will also promote financial literacy and capacity building support for various stakeholders including youth, and women entrepreneurs in various sectors such as agriculture. The collaboration will also support MSMEs through upskilling to ensure that locally owned businesses participate competitively in both domestic and regional trade.
Dr. Samuel Gbaydee Doe, UNDP Resident Representative of South Sudan welcomed the partnership saying that it fulfils the aspirations of world leaders who in the declaration of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development emphasised partnership building as key to achieving the goals. Speaking during the signing ceremony Dr. Samuel Doe also underscored the role of the private sector in fostering economic growth,
“Development organizations like UNDP can catalyze economic development, but it takes the private sector to grow and sustain the gains. We come together today in this realization that we need each other for the progress and prosperity in South Sudan,” said Dr. Samuel Doe.
He further noted that the UNDP- Stanbic Bank partnership is timely because it coincides with the growing momentum for local economic development in South Sudan. Dr. Samuel Doe reiterated UNDP’s support to the ministries for youth, gender, labour, and trade to invest in economic development of young women and men through local industrialization.
On his part, Mr. Andrew Murugu, Country Head, Stanbic Bank South Sudan, noted, “This is an important step not just for Stanbic Bank but for the rest of South Sudan’s private sector. We believe that South Sudan’s socio-economic transformation will be accelerated by partnerships between government, development partners, and the private sector.”
He added that “There is strength when the partners, with mutual interests, come together, and I believe with our respective strengths, this partnership will make meaningful contributions to South Sudan and our people.”
The event was also graced by Stanbic Bank Kenya and South Sudan Chief Executive Mr. Charles Mudiwa, who said, “Stanbic Bank believes in leveraging partnerships with shared goals and values to foster growth and development. The bank has entered several partnerships with governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector in a bid to drive maximum impact of targeted initiatives”.
Harnessing the potential of the youth in South Sudan
Destitution and lack of empowerment, underpinned by a widespread absence of productive capacities and income generation opportunities, are among the key factors sustaining the vicious cycle of conflict especially among the youth. Addressing these issues contributes to the social and economic pillars of the country because of a solid understanding of the impact that youth have and the importance of creating opportunities and healthy environments for them to thrive and reach their potential.
The partnership follows a recent collaboration between UNDP and Stanbic Bank in which the two organisations donated desktop computers to the National Prisons Service of South Sudan in a bid to promote digital skills and develop institutional capacities in the Juba, Malakal, and Wau central prisons.
Areas of Cooperation
Both UNDP and Stanbic Bank have identified the following activities in which cooperation may be pursued, with each party operating subject to its respective mandates, governing regulations, rules, policies and procedures:
i) Promote economic livelihood support for entrepreneurs, youth and women participating in various agricultural value chains;
ii) Promote employability and employment by availing digital skills, financial resources and where possible opportunities for internships
iii) Expand access to markets and build the capacity of MSMEs to participate in both domestic and export trade;
iv) Financial inclusion by enhancing access to finance for MSMEs; women and youth. This can be through the setting up/leveraging revolving funds;
v) Providing infrastructure such as computers for innovation hubs;
vi) Provide the opportunity to advance the commitment and involvement of private sector in sustainable development opportunities.
About UNDP South Sudan Access to Justice, Security and Human Rights Strengthening Programme
The UNDP Access to Justice, Security and Human Rights Strengthening Programme is supported by the Kingdom of Netherlands, Government of Japan, the Peacebuilding Fund, the Resilience, Stabilization and Recovery Trust Funds for South Sudan and its core resources. The programme seeks to strengthen the capacity of key justice and security actors including the Ministry of Interior, Police, Prisons, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Law Review Commission, Human Rights Commission and Judiciary by reducing case backlog; addressing prolonged and arbitrary detention; harmonizing traditional and formal justice sector; and increasing access to justice for the people of South Sudan and promoting a culture of human rights respect.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.