April 26, 2013
John Ivo Mounto, deputy governor of Upper Nile State, left, shakes hands with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited a riverside town in South Sudan April 21, inspected urgent projects to improve a road, a harbor and a water purification plant and pledged to speed up work to show results to residents.
Tanaka arrived in the country April 20 as part of a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa. The projects he inspected in the isolated town of Malakal were launched in response to needs that arose after South Sudan's independence in 2011.
Located along the Nile , Malakal is a stopping point for river transport and commerce between the capitals of Sudan and South Sudan. Partly because of inadequate infrastructure for transportation to other regions of South Sudan, it is faced with the problem of city functions that cannot keep up with population growth from returnees from Sudan. Showing results and independence dividends is key in the geopolitically important town to help residents and cement peace throughout South Sudan.
Tanaka met with John Ivo Mounto, deputy governor of Upper Nile State, where Malakal is located. The two discussed the improvement projects.
With regard to the water supply project, the deputy governor emphasized the great need for clean water during the rainy season and the importance of improving operational capacity after improving the treatment plant.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka inspects a water plant next to the Nile River.
Tanaka said by visiting the plant, he saw firsthand that despite being next to a river, Malakal has difficulty securing clean, safe water. He also confirmed the necessity and urgency of cooperation in the area of water supply, which is the town's lifeline. He pledged to continue further cooperation in medium- to long-term planning, as well.
At the road-improvement site, where the use of human labor is emphasized over heavy machinery, Tanaka told an anecdote about 100 people responding to a call for 30 workers. Tanaka and the deputy governor agreed the completed road would not only improve transportation for returnees and distribution of goods, but that the project was creating jobs for residents.
After completing the inspections, Tanaka planned to meet with South Sudan government officials.
Next he will visit Sudan, the final destination on this tour.