The Donor Book looks back at international assistance to South Sudan in 2012/13 and the New Deal process – a policy project initiated by the Ministry of Finance, development partners and civil society during the year. Published in a period of national crisis, the goals of this report are modest. It attempts to account for aid between July 2012 and June 2013, assesses data quality, and suggests practical steps to make aid statistics clearer, more accurate and useful.
Data from the Aid Information Management System (AIMS) – an online database through which donors report their assistance – suggests that aid to South Sudan continued to rise in 2012/13. According to AIMS, aid allocations reached at least $1.64 billion – significantly more than in the previous year. For several reasons, the actual figures are probably higher. Some donors did not report, some reports were incomplete, some aid was misattributed. As the data quality assessment shows, the AIMS system itself, inadequate guidance and limited support compounded these problems. So did the ongoing crisis. To provide a fuller picture of international assistance, this year’s report therefore also incorporates figures from the Organization for Economic Coperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based think thank for developed countries. OECD statistics suggest that donors committed at least $1.86 billion to South Sudan in the year 2012.
At a basic level, AIMS and OECD statistics reveal similar trends. Most aid is provided by a handful of donors. Unlike in other countries, almost half the aid comes from humanitarian budgets and thereby shapes the aid operation as a whole. Aid fragmentation continues, as more and more donors expand their bilateral programmes following independence. As most aid focusses on emergencies, longer term investments remain fairly sparse and national involvement in aid delivery is limited. The current crisis is likely to amplify these trends. It will also prompt partners to rebalance their aid portfolios further towards humanitarian aid. While international assistance is likely to increase in 2013/14, this report therefore does not attempt to provide specific projections.
Following South Sudan’s first Fragility Assessment in 2012, more than 1,000 stakeholders across all ten states engaged in the development of a New Deal Compact in 2013. These consultations – South Sudan’s largest to date – were guided by a fundamental question: how do Government and donors have to change the way they do business, so that South Sudan can overcome fragility? The crisis that broke out on 15 December 2013 disrupted these preparations. Lessons need to be learned, some of them suggested in this report. However, the answers that emerged from the New Deal consultations foreshadowed priorities that will be at the heart of South Sudan’s post-conflict agenda: reconciliation, security sector reform, justice and accountability, public finances and infrastructure investment. South Sudan is a deeply fragile nation. How to change international support so that it takes better account of fragility remains a challenge for donors and Government alike.