April 30, 2013
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, in South Sudan as part of a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa, met with President Salva Kiir Mayardit this week and discussed national development strategy in light of recent peace negotiation progress.
Tanaka met with South Sudanese officials April 22 and 23 in the capital city of Juba.
Kiir emphasized the importance of interdependence between South Sudan and Sudan, and expressed his strong determination to maintain peace. He also expressed strong hopes for JICA-funded Project for Construction of Nile River Bridge.
In March 2013 an agreement was reached on implementation of the peace accord between South Sudan and Sudan concluded in September 2012. The accord had temporarily fallen into doubt, but rapid progress is now being made, including a visit by Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashirto to Juba on April 12.
Tanaka said JICA would continue its assistance for projects to improve infrastructure and agricultural development planning. JICA started assistance in 2006, before South Sudanese independence (July 9, 2011), in response to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Tanaka also said he expects the state income from underground resources to be be invested for industrial diversification to promote steady economic development.
In a meeting with Tanaka, Vice President Riek Machar Teny said he greatly values JICA's assistance on infrastructure improvement and agriculture, and asked that such assistance continue.
Finally, Tanaka met with Barnaba Marial Benjamin, minister of Information and Broadcasting, who has visited Japan many times. Benjamin praised Japanese assistance as practical, and the two discussed the importance of strengthening bilateral relations, including in the private sector.
After the site visits and talks in South Sudan, on April 23 Tanaka departed for Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, his final destination for this trip.