Over 2,300 Sudanese Government Staff Benefit
from Knowledge Transfer Through TOKTEN

Khartoum, 14 June 2010 Close to 2,500 professionals in various institutions affiliated to the Government of National Unity (GoNU) and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) have benefited as a result of the the Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN). The TOKTEN Sudan initiative, a unique partnership approach to capacity mobilization for effective governance, has so far benefited from the knowledge and expertise of nearly 50 people of Sudanese origin living in North America, Europe, parts of the Middle-East, the Far East, Africa and Australia. There is considerable scope to involve Sudanese abroad in far greater numbers in the task of capacity enhancement for development planning, financial management and rule of law in the country. This was stated at a national stock-taking workshop that reviewed the impact of TOKTEN on national capacity and its areas of future expansion in the country.

Opening the Workshop, the Director for External Relations in the Ministry of International Cooperation, Mr. Yassin Eissa said, “TOKTEN is a project led by the Government of Sudan and it is our responsibility to make the best use of the qualified Sudanese abroad”.

Speaking at the Inaugural Session, Ms. Yar Akech Onga from the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, Government of Southern Sudan said, “Knowledge is what makes the governments functional and without knowledge there can be no governance. Our expatriate nationals can fill a critical gap in national capacity development”.

In his keynote remarks, the UNDP Deputy Country Director, Mr. Auke Lootsma said, “At UNDP, our primary focus is on capacity development. TOKTEN has proved to be an effective tool in this endeavour. It is clear, we need ever greater numbers of TOKTEN volunteers to fill in the capacity gap in recovery and development efforts”.

TOKTEN is a development initiative introduced by UNDP in 1977 as a means to counter the exodus of professionals from developing countries. The programme allows skilled professionals from developing countries to return home for a period ranging from one week to three months to contribute their skills and services to the country’s development.

The TOKTEN initiative in Sudan has a demand-driven approach with a strong focus on development of institutional capacity. So far, as part of the TOKTEN, organizations such as the National Population Council, the Sudan University of Science and Technology, the Ministries of Interior, Finance and National Economy, and Agriculture and Forestry, the Sudan National AIDS Programme (SNAP) and Ahfad University of Women have benefited from specialist knowledge transferred by the Sudanese professionals living abroad.

Participants at the workshop called for boosting efforts for targeted advocacy that could encourage the Sudanese diaspora to return for short durations to their country of origin to impart skills and transfer their knowledge for the benefit of host institutions in the country. It was also noted that women TOKTEN volunteers needed to be enlisted in far greater numbers in order to address the gender gap in volunteerism among the Sudanese Diaspora.

UNDP Sudan is supporting the Government of National Unity of Sudan and the Government of southern Sudan in several areas through its recovery and development-support programmes, many of them with a strong capacity development focus. The TOKTEN project, which started in Sudan in 2007, with financial assistance from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands, has its primary focus on capacity building through deployment of professional Sudanese in the Diaspora.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts the largest number of Sudanese diaspora in the Middle-east. A vast majority of TOKTEN volunteers represent high educational attainments. As many as 68 per cent have completed their Doctoral studies and 21 per cent have a Masters Degree in fields as diverse as software and information engineering, agricultural economics, criminal law and criminal justice, demography and management sciences.

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For more information please contact:
Kumar Tiku: Head, Communications Unit, UNDP Sudan: kumar.tiku@undp.org


UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.