South Sudan has great basketball potential

JUBA, 27 October 2011 – South Sudan has everything it takes to become Africa’s powerhouse for one of the world’s fastest growing and well paying sports of basketball, the NBA’s Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo has said.

Mr Mutombo who was speaking to the media at the end of a week-long tour to South Sudan said he was overwhelmed by the zeal and love for the game by many young South Sudanese, both boys and girls. He said his first impression seeing the young people play at the basketball courts in South Sudan is that the love of basketball is so high in the country. He said that such passion is what it takes to become a star and a leading country in basketball.

He said that South Sudan is on the right path and added that it is just a matter of time before the country excels in the game. “I have seen you guys play and I’m very convinced that given chance, you can surprise many countries in Africa”, he said.

He further stressed the need to build the sport through talent development, building of basketball courts throughout the ten states, acquisition of equipment and support to the coaches who have volunteered to develop the game in South Sudan. He also stressed the need for well trained coaches.


Mr Mutombo speaking to the media.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

He said it is important to engage the young in sports like football, basketball and athletics because sports have become a source of employment all over the world and unifies societies. He stressed that the NBA is ready to support the talent of basketball in South Sudan. “NBA helps when the people are involved need change and we have seen that involvement to bring change in basketball in South Sudan”, he said.

He commended the UN for pledging its support to build more basketball courts. He also reported that his entourage was informed that China is extending similar assistance to develop basketball in South Sudan. He called on all development partners and agencies to come forth and support this game.

Mr Mutombo called on all the young to value education. He said education is the backbone of development. He added that one may be good in basketball but without education, he or she may not prosper. He said the youth should emulate the late hero and legend of basketball Mr. Manut Bol who was a South Sudanese. He said Mr Bol besides being a good basketballer had to seek further education in the United States of America.


Mr Peter Baptist, the Undersecretary for Sports addressing the media.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

He announced that in their next visit to South Sudan, they will go to the village of Mr Bol to pay respect to him and to go all around the country encouraging the youth to be actively involved in sports.

Mr. Sam Parkins, an NBA legend who was part of the delegation, expressed hope that great opportunities lie ahead of the newly born state. “Independence is very important because it allows you to do many things, including taking part in any sports, without being restricted”, he said. He added that the NBA will be a part of the positive change in South Sudan.

Meanwhile the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Youth, Culture, Sports and Recreation, Mr. Peter Baptist welcomed the courtesy call and said the government, and the Ministry in particular, is ready to cooperate with the NBA in developing basketball in South Sudan.

Reported by Matata Safi and Martin Jada

Ministry of Agriculture reviews food security

JUBA, 27 October 2011 – The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan yesterday organized a meeting to review issues of agriculture, food security situation in South Sudan, inputs and services delivery and Annual Reports. The meeting was attended by UN agencies such as UNWPF UN, FOA, US AID, JICA, and IFAD.

The meeting was officially opened by the Undersecretary Jahen Tongun Emilio. During the meeting he said that the first rapid assessment was presented to the Council of Ministers regarding food deficit. He also indicated that UNWFP, FAA as well as NGOs operating in South Sudan will assist the vulnerable communities affected by floods and drought.


The undersecretary stressed that the national banks such as Ivory Bank and Agriculture Bank of South Sudan should give loans to the farmers in order to boost food security situation in South Sudan.

The Director General for Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture in Eastern Equatoria State said that the state has a vision for boosting food for production in the state. He reported that Eastern Equatoria is experiencing food deficit but explained that if each household cultivated five acres (fadans) then they would be assured for a meal every day. The DG reported that they are working with partners to improve the feeder roads to facilitate the transportation of food from higher food production to the low food production areas in the state. She also reported that the ministry is currently focusing on encouraging the registration of cooperative societies, training farmers and marketing agricultural produce so as to improve food security in the state.

Reported by Nargis Alphonse Lotira and Modong Mary Napoleon

Japan inaugurates Primary School in Central Equatoria

JUBA, 26 October 2011 - A handover ceremony was held yesterday in Central Equatoria State to inaugurate a human development project funded by the Government of Japan, through Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots and Human Security Projects (GGHSP).


The ceremony was held in Bungu village, to inaugurate a newly reconstructed primary school. H.E Akinori Wada, the Ambassador of Japan to Sudan and Mr. Manase Lomule, Deputy of Governor of Central Equatoria State and Minister of the State’s Ministry of Education and Instruction, Mr. Michael Tongun, Minister of the State’s Ministry of Cooperatives and Rural Development, Mr. Tomas Peter Gore, Commissioner of Juba County attended to celebrate the launching of the new primary school in the presence of the school teaching staff and students with their families.


The Bungu Village School, Established in 1932, is one of the oldest schools in the history of education in South Sudan, thus the school carries special meaning and responsibilities towards the education of future generations and development in South Sudan.


One of the goals of the Japanese socio-economic development assistance in South Sudan is to secure the basic human needs including providing the proper educational environment and facilities.

The Government of Japan extended US$ 189,086 grant for the construction of the school in Bungu village. This grant was used to construct four classrooms, one hall and pit latrines with more than 250 students expected to study at the school.


The Government of Japan hopes that this project helps to reconstruct society, and to contribute to achieve consolidation of peace in Central Equatoria State, South Sudan.

Hon Awut Deng meets Hilde Johnson, discuss DDR

JUBA, 26 October 2011 – The minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development Hon. Awut Deng Acuil yesterday met Hilde Johnson, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UNMISS in the Republic of South Sudan and discussed issues concerning Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), Diaspora and returnees from the North.


Hon. Awut urged the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to work closely with the government to address these issues. She also asserted that vocational training is one way of dealing with these issues.


Hon Awut (right) holding discussions with Ms Johnson.


She pointed out that there are many challenges relating to the returnees and Diaspora in terms of employment, especially among the youth, since the government cannot absorb all of them. “Our nation is only three months old and has limited private sector that would have absorbed many”, she acknowledged. She reported that there is a committee collecting information on how some of the civil servants working in the north can be recruited into the government system.


“The challenge of youth unemployment is very critical in the Republic of South Sudan and needs joint efforts between the government and UNMISS”, she said.


In a press statement shortly after the meeting Ms Johnson lauded the role the ministry played in the last years of the CPA. She expressed confidence that the ministry will continue to address public issues and ensure the delivery of services to the people. She assured Hon. Awut that the UNMISS will support the government in its DDR programme and other areas of concern.


Reported by Justin Jada Joseph

Health minister concludes visit to Western Bahr el Ghazal

JUBA, 26 October 2011 – The minister for Health, Hon Dr Michael Milli Hussein has concluded his working tour of Western Bahr el Ghazal State where he inspected healthcare facilities and held meetings the governor Hon Rizik Zachariah, state Ministry of Health officers and development partners in the health sector.

Dr Hussein said that as the world’s youngest nation, the Republic of South Sudan is facing myriad health challenges. For instance, he reported that the 2010 household survey showed that from 100,000 life births, the maternal mortality rate is 2054. He also explained that South Sudan has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

During his visit to the Wau Teaching Hospital in the company of the state minister for Health Hon Dr Isaac Cleto Hassan, the Director General of the hospital Dr James Okello Morgan briefed the minister of the challenges and the achievements of the health facility.


Dr Hussein is welcomed to the CTI.

The minister also met the Population Services International (PSI) South Sudan (PSI) team led by Mr. Amin Joseph, the PSI Field Officer in Wau and discussed the various projects the organization is implementing on behalf of the national Ministry of Health. They also discussed strategies to prevent diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS in the state and the country at large. During the meeting, the minister encouraged the PSI to work closely with the state Ministry of Health to provide quality services to the people.

The minister also officiated at the inaugural ceremony of the newly established Catholic Training Institute (CTI) in the state. He lauded the efforts of the church in establishing the centre and explained that it will help to train a good number of nurses to support healthcare provision. For instance, he explained that some of the nurses trained at the centre will help reduce the number of women dying during pregnancy and delivery. The ceremony was attended by bishops from the Catholic Church, priests, government representatives and members of the public. The institute is currently training sixty (60) students drawn from all over South Sudan.

After the inauguration Dr Hussein visited the St Daniel Comboni Hospital in Wau to inspect the facilities and acquaint himself with the services the hospital offers.


Dr Hussein poses with the bishops.

In another event Dr Hussein visited Gogrial East County in Warap State and met the Commissioner Mr. Victor Atem Atem in his office. The commissioner briefed the minister on the challenges facing healthcare provision and malaria outbreak in the county. The commissioner also decried poor transport which makes it difficult for sick people to reach the health facilities.

After the meeting Dr Hussein and the team also visited health centres in the County. He announced that the government is committed to construct 100 new health facilities across the country. He also said that the ministry will train 1,000 midwives to control the high birth-death of infants and mothers.

Reported by Lindri Godfrey Alex

India to support agriculture and capacity development

JUBA, 25 October 2011 – India has expressed its readiness to support agricultural, rural development and capacity building projects in the Republic of South Sudan.


This was announced by the Indian Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan Mr. Parimal Kar today when he met Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, the minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development (MoLPS & HRD) to discuss issues pertaining to human resource capacity building for a better service delivery in the new nation.


Hon. Awut briefed the diplomat on the current trend of mushrooming of vocational training centres across the country. She explained that these vocational training centres have various challenges which need urgent support so as to enrol and graduate youth and women to meet the needs of the labour market in the country.


Hon Awut (left) holding discussions with Mr. Kar (right).


Mr. Kar underscored the need to train local instructors to manage the courses offered by the existing vocational training centres. He urged the minister to prioritize these training needs in collaboration with the line ministries.


Meanwhile in another development, the Director General for Labour and Industrial Relations Ms Helen Achiro has called for tax exemption for Japan International System, a company which is bringing equipment to be installed at the Multipurpose Training Centre (MTC) in Juba.


Ms Achiro made the call yesterday when she met the representatives of the company. She assured the company that the Ministry of Labour Public Service and Human Resource Development will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to ensure to facilitate the tax exemption so that the equipment can be brought in and installed in time. She commended the Japanese government for its continued support to the Republic of South Sudan.


Reported by Justin Jada Joseph and Alnour Ango

China donates 200 million RMB to South Sudan

JUBA, 24 October 2011 (NASS) – The government of the Peoples’ Republic of China today donated 200 million Renminbi (the official Chinese currency abbreviated as RMB) to support agriculture, education, health and water supply projects in the Republic of South Sudan.

The donation was announced this morning by the Chinese ambassador in Juba Hon Li Zhiguo during a meeting he held with the minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin. The ambassador said that China will continue to support development in the new country now and into the future.


Dr Marial receiving the Chinese delegation.

The ambassador also announced that the Chinese government will soon send Chinese international radio stations to South Sudan to help develop the sector and share experiences and skills with the South Sudanese media fraternity. He also announced that the Chinese peacekeepers in South Sudan will remain in the country until the nascent peace is stabilized.

He expressed hope that the bilateral relations between the two countries will be strengthened for the mutual benefit of their peoples. He explained that his government is in constant touch with their South Sudanese counterparts so as to identify the areas and frameworks of partnership. He said Chinese companies will come to South Sudan as soon as these modalities are worked out.

On his part, Dr Marial expressed South Sudan’s gratitude for the support of China and explained that the government is keen to strengthen its bilateral links with the Asian country. “We want you to look comprehensively in the areas of investment as well as education, especially university education, which is constantly facing infrastructural and personnel challenges”, he said.


Dr Marial chatting with Mr Nascimento.

Meanwhile in another event Dr Marial also hosted the former Prime Minister of Angola Mr. Lopo do Nascimento. Mr Nascimento announced that SONANGO, the Angolan national oil company will soon invest in South Sudan.

Dr Marial welcomed the announcement and said that South Sudan stands to benefit greatly from the experience of such renowned companies.

Reported by Martina Jada and Taghrid George, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)

Hon. LoWilla urges OP staff to serve humbly

JUBA, 21 October 2011 – The minister in the Office of the President Hon. Emmanuel LoWilla today Friday October 21st 2011 urged all the staff working in the Office of the President to be dedicated and serve the country humbly.

The minister made these remarks when he officially opened the new offices for the staff in the Office of the President. The new offices are located at the western side of the executive office of the President, and constructed under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning.


A view of the new offices.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Hon. LoWilla who was accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President Mr. Martinson Otoromoi and the Executive Director of the President’s Office Mr. Yek Loul Koor, inspected different directorates and departments located in the new offices after the opening.

He commended the Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning and the top administration officers in the Office of the President for joining hands together in constructing office premise. Hon. LoWilla directed all the staff in the President’s Office to be punctual and to double their efforts in their service since a conducive work environment has now been created for them.


Another view of the office premise.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Hon. LoWilla explained that the expectation of the performance in the Office of the President is very high and appealed to the workers to improve their behaviour and be humble servants.

On his part, the Deputy Chief of Staff Mr. Martinson Otoromoi appreciated the Government of Central Equatoria State for being kind enough by giving a large portion of land for the staff in the Office of the President.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

President Kiir appoints new Presidential Advisors

JUBA, 20 October 2011 – The President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday appointed two new Presidential Advisors.

Through Presidential Decree RSS/PD/J/49/2011, President Kiir said that in the exercise of the powers bestowed upon him under Article 101(i) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan he has appointed Mr Aggrey Tisa Sabuni the Presidential Advisor on Economic Affairs; and Mr Mark Lotende Lochapi the Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs.

Both appointments took effect immediately. The President had earlier relieved Mr Aggrey Tisa Sabuni of his former position of Undersecretary for Economic Planning in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning through Presidential Decree RSS/PD/J/48/2011 dated 19 October 2011.

Cuba affirms support to the Republic of South Sudan

JUBA, 20 October 2011 – The Cuban Special Envoy to South Sudan Clara Pulido Esoandoll has said the people of Cuba are fully behind the people of the newly born Republic of South Sudan and will support them to realize the dreams of their new country.

Speaking to the press at the SPLM Secretariat headquarters in Juba yesterday, Ms Esoandoll said her government will cooperate with the government of the Republic of South Sudan in any fields of development. She said South Sudan has a long history of cooperation with Cuba dating to the period before its recently attained independence that came as a result of the 2005 peace agreement that brought the two decades of war to an end.


Ms Esoandol addressing the press.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

She said during the long civil war, many young South Sudanese took refuge in Cuba and were able to acquire education there. She added that today many of them have come back home and are serving the country in different fields and positions. She said that these people are working positively towards the development of this new country which she said is a country of new spirit and a new culture. She further asserted that this is the kind of relationship that needs continuity from a common past to a common future for the people of the two countries.

Ms Esoandoll reported that Cuba has a long history of working with many African countries in North and Southern Africa in areas of health, education, road and bridge construction, engineering, and agriculture to mention but a few. She further explained that these same areas of development may apply to the new country of South Sudan as the country is beginning from scratch. She, however, clarified that the government of the Republic of South Sudan will have to set the priorities for cooperation between the two countries.

“We want to come here and cooperate together as comrades, as representatives of the people that want to share with us our experience. We will not tell South Sudanese what to do but rather will ask where we can help”, she explained.

Reported by Matata Safi

South Sudan committed to maintain cordial relations with the North

JUBA, 20 October 2011 (NASS) – The Republic of South Sudan is still committed to maintaining cordial relations with the North due to their interdependence, Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin the minister for Information and Broadcasting who is also the Official Government Spokesperson has said.

In an interview with the Al-Shorouq TV yesterday Dr Marial said that South Sudan and the Sudan shares a lot in common and explained that it is only natural for them to strengthen their ties. He explained that the two countries share the longest borderline, markets and natural resources such as petroleum as well as a common history.

The minister asserted that the Republic of South Sudan is still committed to the spirit and letter of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 and will continue to live in peace with its neighbour in the North and the world at large.

Dr Marial also supported the efforts of the African Union panel led by the former South African President Thabo Mbeki. He said that Mr Mbeki’s team is playing an important role that will lead to the realization of lasting peace in the region including Southern Kordufan and Blue Nile.

The minister also called on the government in the North to expand the democratic space in the country to allow political parties to operate freely in the country so as to facilitate democratic transformation and building of a stronger state.

Reported by Martin Jada, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)

Information ministry reviewing media bills

JUBA, 20 October 2011 (NASS) – The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is currently consulting the stakeholders and reviewing the media bills before they can be forwarded to the relevant institutions and ultimately to the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly for enactment.

Last week, the ministry organized a meeting for the stakeholders at its headquarters to review the three bills – the Media Council Bill, 2011; South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation Bill, 2011; and the Right of Access to Information Bill, 2011. The meeting was chaired by the deputy minister Hon Atem Yaak Atem.

Speaking at the meeting, Hon Atem, who is also a veteran journalist, underscored the role of the appropriate media legislations in regulating the sector. He said that the bills, when enacted, will fill the current vacuum and streamline media operations so as to avoid potential anarchy. He cautioned, however, that these freedoms will have to be exercised with responsibility. “There is no absolute freedom in this world; even our creator gave us the Ten Commandments to guide us”, he emphasized.

Most of the participants at the meeting were happy with the bills and suggested that they should be presented to parliament as they are. However, the Director of the News Agency of South Sudan (NASS) Mr Moyiga Nduru expressed his reservations on the title of the Media Council Bill and suggested that it should be renamed the Media Authority Bill so as to harmonize it with similar legislation in the region.

Reported by Martin Jada and Taghrid George, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)