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US chief warns elections might not be credible in South Sudan. Here’s why 

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A senior US State Department official has cautioned that unless immediate action is taken, the planned December elections in South Sudan are not likely to be a credible process due to the government’s delayed preparations.

In an interview, the official responded in the affirmative when asked if, absent immediate action, the electoral process was headed towards being a fraud.

Later this year, South Sudan will hold national elections to select a new transitional administration led by First Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir, whose forces fought each other throughout the country’s 2013–2018 civil war.

Kiir, who has been the country’s president since he led it into independence in 2011, announced in 2022 that the transitional administration would hold onto power for an additional two years, postponing the planned elections.

“I give it 50/50” about the possibility that the elections in December would go as scheduled, the official stated.

Speaking as anonymous, the official issued a warning that in the event that elections are postponed or unrest breaks out, the United States may consider using sanctions and modifying its diplomatic posture in the nation.

“If there’s either a delay or violence, I think we would look at the whole suite of options, including sanctions,” the official said.

According to the official, exploring Washington’s development assistance and other avenues of involvement are further choices.

An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by a representative of the South Sudanese administration. According to the embassy, Peter Lord, the deputy assistant secretary for East Africa, Sudan, and South Sudan, visited the nation last week and urged the leaders to take the necessary actions to host legitimate and peaceful elections in December.

However, the US diplomat issued a warning on Friday, stating that South Sudan had failed to fulfil its obligations from two years prior, which included conducting a census, creating a constitution, and establishing all the democratic institutions required for the elections to occur.

The source went on to say that there hasn’t been a careful or comprehensive procedure because electoral institutions have just recently been constituted. According to the senior official, Kiir is in favour of the elections because they would give him credibility, but several in his immediate vicinity, including Machar, are against them because they run the risk of losing in a political struggle.

Although a 2018 agreement that put an end to a five-year conflict that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives declared South Sudan officially at peace, there are still frequent flare-ups of localised violence between competing populations.

Right now, South Sudan is in a precarious situation. Local violence between various armed groups and factions is increasing, according to UN reports.

According to UN estimates, South Sudan’s seven years of civil conflict between 2013 and 2020 resulted in 2.19 million refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries, 1.62 million internally displaced people, and 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

Musings From Abroad

AfDB, IDB on $20bn IMF reserve asset donor drive

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In line with a global initiative to increase the efforts of leading multilateral development banks (MDBs) to address poverty and climate change, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Inter-American Development Banks (IDB) intend to convert each SDR into $4 in additional funding through the use of hybrid bonds and other financial instruments.

“All these countries have shown a lot of interest, and I think that with the approval from the IMF to use it (SDRs), it’s going to make that conversation a lot better,” AfDB President, Adesina said.

Japan has also pledged to help as a potential contributor of SDR, and in Europe, France has indicated interest in contributing some of its SDR for a simultaneous “liquidity guarantee” that would reimburse donors should they encounter difficulties.

“There are a lot of things that that bacon can feed – electricity, water sanitation, education,” Adesina stated, adding that he and Goldfajn have the remainder of the year to “bring the bacon home.”

The board of the AfDB separately approved a $117 billion capital increase earlier this month, and it is currently seeking an additional $25 billion for its concessional lending arm, the African Development Fund.

It aims to allocate a portion of the funds to projects like credit guarantees, which lower project financing costs by utilizing the bank’s triple-A credit rating as a halo.

It plans to use them similarly for debt-for-nature or climate swaps, which enable governments to reduce debt in exchange for safeguarding important ecosystems. Currently, Tanzania is employing them for railways linking Tanzania to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Nigeria.

The AfDB’s almost-final year in leadership, Adesina, stated that acknowledging the economic and global significance of Africa’s savannahs, rainforests, rivers, and seas is also necessary.

According to his estimation, their worth is at least $6.8 trillion, and the bank plans to adjust the GDP calculations for the continent to account for this amount. For instance, the Congo Basin is thought to be larger than the Amazon to be the world’s greatest carbon sink.

“In a world of climate change and green growth that ought to matter,” he added, saying that if “properly valued” countries like Congo and Gabon would have much better debt metrics.

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Musings From Abroad

World Bank grants Nigeria’s request for a $2.25 billion loan

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According to a statement released by the World Bank on Thursday, Nigeria has been granted a $2.25 billion loan to help stabilize its economy after implementing reforms and increasing aid to the underprivileged.

Nigeria wants to borrow up to $2.25 billion from the World Bank, according to Finance Minister Wale Edun’s April announcement. The proposal is expected to be approved by the bank’s board in June.

The boldest reforms the nation has seen in decades were started by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu in May of last year. He eliminated a popular but expensive fuel subsidy and twice devalued the currency substantially in an attempt to spur economic growth. However, the actions exacerbated a situation caused by rising costs of living and increased inflation.

The International Monetary Fund predicted that gasoline subsidies could account for as much as 3% of GDP this year due to the devaluation since rises in pump prices have not kept pace with their dollar cost.

Additionally, labour unions have been putting pressure on Tinubu to undo changes. According to the World Bank, it has authorized two loans totalling $750 million to speed up tax mobilization and $1.5 billion to support Nigeria’s reforms.

Nigeria has taken “initial critical steps to restore macroeconomic stability, boost revenues, and create the conditions to reignite growth and poverty reduction have been taken.” Nigeria has also started important reforms to address economic distortions and strengthen its fiscal outlook.

According to the World Bank, the loan will aid Nigeria in its efforts to increase non-oil revenue and foster fiscal sustainability, both of which will enable the West African country to provide high-quality public services.

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