Darfur recovery needs $6bn – official
18 February 2013, 17:46
Khartoum - The economic recovery of Sudan's war-ravaged
Darfur needs an estimated $6bn, the region's top official said on Sunday,
appealing for international support 10 years after an insurrection began.
Eltigani Seisi made the comments in an interview with AFP
ahead of an April 7-8 donors' conference in Qatar.
Analysts are sceptical that major funds will be forthcoming.
"If the international community refrains from providing
support then how could we be able to stabilise the situation on the
ground?" Seisi said.
"And how could the people of Darfur have dividends for
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reported in
January that a 2011 armistice deal, signed in Doha, has yet to bring
"concrete peace dividends" for Darfur's neediest.
The UN says 1.4 million still live in camps for people
displaced by fighting.
"I am increasingly concerned that this lack of
meaningful progress will erode the confidence of the people of Darfur and the
international community in the Doha document," Ban said.
He called it "particularly regrettable" that
provisions for the voluntary return of the displaced, the disbanding of
militia, and reconstruction and development have not been implemented.
Sudan's government signed the peace deal with an alliance of
rebel splinter factions but major insurgents rejected it.
The rebellion, by groups complaining about an imbalance of
power and wealth in the country, has been compounded by inter-Arab violence,
banditry and tribal fighting.
Seisi heads the Darfur Regional Authority set up to
implement the Doha agreement.
He said the Khartoum government, after delays, has now
transferred an initial contribution of about $200m for a reconstruction
and development fund. Seisi had earlier described the payment as
"absolutely necessary" to persuade other contributors.
Sudan's economy has struggled after losing about half its
fiscal revenues when South Sudan separated in 2011 with most of the united
country's oil production.
"The issue is provision of services as well as
infrastructure development" for Darfur, Seisi said. "That development
cannot come through without the support of the international community."
An assessment mission under the peace agreement concluded
that Darfur needs about $6bn for economic recovery, development and
poverty eradication, he said.
The extent to which the international community will deliver
fresh funding is unclear, a foreign diplomat said.
"I'm not very optimistic," said the diplomat,
"It all depends on the donors," Seisi said.
Dane Smith, the US administration's senior adviser for
Darfur, warned in December that financial support for Darfur's recovery is in
jeopardy unless the Khartoum government eases restrictions on international aid
He said they face difficulties in getting visas and permits
to reach Darfur.
Seisi said he is "very much concerned" the issue
could limit funding but authorities are taking steps to improve access.
"I don't see any reason for not allowing UN staff to go
there", he said.
The United Nations said last Thursday that aid delivery is in
jeopardy for an estimated 100 000 people affected by violence in the Jebel Amir
region of North Darfur state unless authorities grant better access.
The mass displacement occurred after inter-Arab tribal
fighting in a gold mining area of North Darfur, a state where "ethnic
tensions" have led to recent violence, Seisi said.
He admitted that government-linked militia in North Darfur
have "committed atrocities against innocent civilians" but he said
the Doha peace deal calls for militia to be disbanded.
Elsewhere in Darfur, "we believe the situation has
improved a lot", he said.