Kerry, Lugar discuss S. Sudan’s future at hearing

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Everyone is at the edge of their seats about South Sudan, the world’s newest nation. How will they establish a strong political system and conduct relations with Khartoum?

Last week, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations discussed the situation in South Sudan at the hearing, “Two New Sudans: A Road Map Forward.”

Chairman John Kerry presided over the hearing with Ranking Member Dick Lugar. Princeton N. Lyman, the State Department’s special envoy for Sudan, offered testimony about the difficulties that South Sudan faces and US relations with the country.

Although we are all excited to welcome and celebrate South Sudan as the world’s newest nation, there are many challenges ahead. The hearing addressed many of the political, social and military challenges for both Sudan and South Sudan, and Mr. Lyman focused on concrete ways to help develop a sustainable economy for South Sudan. In particular, he highlighted the importance of developing South Sudan’s agriculture sector to stimulate the economy and advance the nation.

During the opening remarks of the hearing, Lyman stated, “the United States plans, in particular, to make a major effort in agricultural production which can help the vast majority of South Sudanese and for which there is much promise.” These investments could include the building of feeder roads, electricity and storage systems all of which would enable the development of agriculture.

It is exciting to see the ambition and potential of South Sudan’s agriculture plans. At ONE, we recognize that agriculture is a definitive tool in sustainable development and investment in agriculture is critical to progress in the developing world. Our recent Agriculture Accountability report exposed that G20 countries have donated only 22 percent of pledged investments for agricultural development and most have not explained how they intend to reach their full pledge. In this critical moment, it is essential that world leaders keep these promises and help South Sudan lay a strong foundation for development and long-term stability, beginning with building their agricultural sector.