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Sudan, December, 11 2007 - The availability of business funding in Southern Sudan have been boosted with the launch of the Microfinance Development Facility by the Bank of Southern Sudan (BoSS) on Monday December 10, 2007 in Juba. It plans to award a total of US$1,000,000 to microfinance providers in the first quarter of 2008.
The facility is supported by the World Bank administered Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) within the framework of the Private Sector Development Project (PSD).
The applicants will be evaluated on the basis of among other factors good governance, well defined quality strategy, good business plans and the ability to build the capacity of the microfinance clientele.
In selecting the awardees, the BoSS will also take into account the outreach to underserved population particularly the youth, women ex-combatants and underserved States.
Another competition designed to catalyze awareness of entrepreneurship and promote business innovation is shortly to take place. The plan offers opportunity for Southern Sudanese entrepreneurs to compete for start-up grants of $15,000. Each year 20 such grants will be awarded to the top applicants.
The Acting Manager of the World Bank Juba Sub-Office, Fred Yankey, recognized the huge development challenges facing Southern Sudan. “But it is pleasing to note that Southern Sudan has also a huge potential of becoming a strong economy
where people can have access to a myriad of goods and services like the one we are launching today” he commented.
The BoSS representative Othom Rogo Ajak said the microfinance facility will be an important instrument in bridging the gap between the poor and the rich.
The representative of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Kun Ding underlined the importance of good management of the Microfinance Development Facility if it is to benefit the people of Southern Sudan .
Explaining the background to the project, the Director of the Public Sector Development in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Supply Mary Akech Taban said the PSD project was initiated 23 months ago and it had since progressed steadily with the technical support of the World Bank.
The World Bank Task Team Leader of the project Mr. Magdi Amin commended the commitment of the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Supply and indeed the entire Government of Southern Sudan for striving to extend services to the people. He said this project would give opportunities for the people to raise dignified families.
The development of the private sector is enshrined in the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan which states that “all levels of government in Southern Sudan shall facilitate the development of the private sector, particularly indigenous entrepreneurs to establish and develop a viable private sector capable of participating effectively in reconstruction and development of Southern Sudan.”
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