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Eastern Sudan Reconstruction Fund ‘misused’

August 6 - 2017 KASSALA
Low school enrolment is just one of many challenges in eastern Sudan, which also faces extreme poverty as well as high rates of under-nutrition, and maternal and infant mortality (Simonsen/Unicef).
Low school enrolment is just one of many challenges in eastern Sudan, which also faces extreme poverty as well as high rates of under-nutrition, and maternal and infant mortality (Simonsen/Unicef).

One-and-a-half year after people in eastern Sudan’s Kassala handed their recommendations in a conference on the development of the northern parts of the state, “nothing has been done”.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, activist Mohamed Seyidna complained that the recommendations of the conference on the development of Wagar (Delta), Hamishkoreib, Aroma, and Telkok localities, which was held in January last year, “are locked in the state government drawers”.

He fiercely criticised the Governor of Kassala for “his complete lack of interest in implementing the recommendations”.

“In the conference’s recommendations, we advised bringing together villages in units that would be provided with health and education services. We recommended the rehabilitation of El Gash Agricultural Project as well,” he said.

Seyidna said that the hospitals built in the area two years ago with the support of the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF) have not been opened so far because of the lack of staff and medical equipment. He further pointed to the “terrible situation of education” in the region.

“The main canals of El Gash Agricultural Project have not been cleaned again before the rainy season,” the activist stated. “This will most probably lead to the failure of the current agricultural season.”

Funds

The ESRDF was established to implement the wealth-sharing arrangements of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA), Khartoum signed with the Eastern Front rebel alliance in October 2006.

In the peace agreement, the social, political, and economic marginalisation of the people of eastern Sudan was given as the core reason for the conflict in the region. It covered political issues; economic, social, and cultural issues; and security arrangements for Eastern Front ex-combatants.

The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey (SAS) stated in its report Development Deferred: Eastern Sudan after the ESPA in May 2015 that the ESRDF faces charges of corruption and the mismanagement of resources. The Fund seems to have been systematically under-financed, while much of the funding has reportedly been allocated to national dam-building projects. 


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