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Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

USAID has supported key Government of South Sudan institutions since 2005, when many ministries and commissions were established as regional governing institutions. USAID continues to work with the Government of South Sudan to strengthen central institutions and systems in order to meet citizen needs and extend public services and governance systems to state and county-level governments. In addition, USAID strengthens the capacity of citizens, civil society, media and other nongovernmental actors to engage constructively with the Government of South Sudan to hold their government accountable.

USAID captured footage of residents of southern Sudan voting in January's historic referendum. USAID provided holistic support to the referendum process through technical assistance, critical commodities like voter registration booklets and polling kits, civic and voter education, and domestic and international observation. 



Democratic institutions, processes and political parties are critical for the creation and stability of a legitimate and democratic government. USAID investments promote a constitutional and legal framework for elections in the Republic of South Sudan; transparent, effective and impartial elections administration; and the development of viable, representative political parties that represent their constituents and gain office without exploiting ethnic rivalries or resorting to violence.

Governance and Rule of Law

USAID will continue to strengthen key governing institutions and support the incorporation of democratic structures and principles into the public sector to enable an effective and democratic government in South Sudan. In particular, USAID support seeks to enhance capacity in Government-identified priority areas—namely, executive leadership, development of the country’s legal framework and the rule of law, and public service capacity building.

A key component of current support for governmental reform is technical assistance to strengthen core functions of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, such as budget preparation and execution, establishing South Sudan’s tax administration, and undertaking procurement reforms. This support includes increasing the use of an automated Financial Management Information System at the central level and in all 10 states, which will greatly increase transparency in government spending.

USAID technical assistance has been critical in transforming the Bank of South Sudan into a fully functioning Central Bank, and assistance will continue to strengthen its ability to promote macro-economic stability and regulation of the financial sector. Since petroleum has accounted for a significant share of South Sudan’s public revenue, USAID will continue to work with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining to improve its management of key elements of the petroleum sector.

At the local level, democratic governance and delivery of essential public services is the foundation upon which developmental and economic marginalization can be addressed. USAID launched a decentralization program to build the capacity of state and local government to strengthen service delivery in states along South Sudan’s fragile northern border with Sudan, where stability in the post-independence era is critical. USAID assistance has provided tangible peace dividends while building basic state and local government capacity and increasing transparency by linking communities to local government.

Civil Society and Media

Ensuring that citizens have the space and means to engage with government at all levels to peacefully express needs, concerns and opinions is essential to effective, inclusive and accountable governance. A strong, vibrant civil society is one of the primary means through which citizens engage with their government, through advocacy on behalf of citizens and by monitoring the degree to which the government represents its people. Therefore, USAID seeks to build functional, organizational and technical capacity of civil society organizations to fill these critical roles. In addition, USAID strongly supports efforts to educate citizens about their government and the key processes, such as constitutional development and elections, in which their participation is essential.

Media independence and freedom of information are integral to creating an informed citizenry that is knowledgeable about its rights and responsibilities and is able to hold its government accountable. To increase the availability of quality information, USAID supports the development of professional media and provides technical assistance to government agencies to strengthen their strategic communications capacities. Partners include the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Sudan Radio Service shortwave and FM radio, and six community radio stations in South Sudan. The Sudan Radio Service FM station in Juba serves as a journalism training center. USAID assistance has helped to develop a media regulatory framework, establish public information radio and TV journalist training, and distribute solar-powered, wind-up radios to isolated communities in South Sudan.

Last updated: August 12, 2014

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