January 30, 2019
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka visited South Sudan from January 25 to 27 to meet with government dignitaries and visit the sites of ODA projects.
In the capital of Juba, Mr. Kitaoka held talks with President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Minister of of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nhial Deng Nhial, Minister of Roads and Bridges Rebecca Joshua Okwaci and Minister of Agriculture and Food Security (representing Minister for Water Resources and Irrigation) Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec. Mr. Kitaoka thanked the South Sudanese government for its support allowing Japanese JICA-related personnel to return Juba in August 2018 and maintaining the construction sites of JICA grant aid projects for more than two years since July 2016. Mr. Kitaoka also welcomed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) agreed upon in September 2018 and said the peace and stability of South Sudan is extremely important for the development of the Africa region. He affirmed that Japan and South Sudan would continue their cooperation.
Mr. Kitaoka's counterparts thanked Mr. Kitaoka for JICA's long years of cooperation and said they hope for the early resumption and completion of JICA grant aid projects, namely the Freedom Bridge and Juba water supply facilities.
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka participated in the opening ceremony for the 4th National Unity Day (NUD), a nationwide athletic event in Juba. JICA has been supporting the NUD since the first one in January 2016. Vice President James Wani Igga, Minister of General Education and Instruction Deng Deng Hoc Yai and other South Sudanese government officials attended the opening ceremony, as did representatives of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the United Nations Development Programme, which also support the 4th NUD. They affirmed the importance and significance of promoting peace and social cohesion through sports.
In his opening ceremony speech, Mr. Kitaoka talked about the significance of NUD, when the people of South Sudan together reflect on elements essential to the development of the country such as a sense of unity and acceptance of fairness and diversity. He added that he wants all the athletes and participants to take the leading role and act as peace ambassadors after the meet to promote peace and development in South Sudan.
Vice President James Wani Igga thanked JICA for supporting the National Unity Day event and called on participating athletes and spectators to respect the rule of law and human rights and work to make South Sudan a country where life is worth living.
With Minister of Roads and Bridges Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, Mr. Kitaoka visited the site of Freedom Bridge, the construction of which has been halted since the incident occurred in South Sudan in July 2016. South Sudanese government officials explained to Mr. Kitaoka that all South Sudanese people are eagerly awaiting the resumption and completion of the project. Mr. Kitaoka said that for the peace and stability of South Sudan and to build the country up, not only is humanitarian assistance essential, but so are development projects such as the Freedom Bridge, and JICA is committed to cooperating to restart the bridge project and complete it quickly.
Seizing the opportunity afforded by this visit by a JICA president, JICA will further contribute to the peace, stability and economic development of South Sudan and stronger relationships with the country.