Project Case Study
Strengthening executive government in South Sudan
Strengthening the government systems of South Sudan as it gained independence in 2011
One of the significant factors in the success of South Sudan’s campaign for independence was ensuring its new cabinet had a clear and sustainable mechanism to guide and manage its actions, including enabling it to effectively communicate with its people.
Between 2010 and 2012, we were asked by the Department for International Development to implement the Strengthening Executive Government programme, which successfully developed key cabinet processes and high level capacity in a very challenging context.
We offered direct support to government communications during the referendum and subsequent independence.
Since then, we have focused on building the Government’s own capacity through an effective network of communications officers in ministries and the appointment of press secretaries for the President and Minister of Information. These new government positions took over the previous operational roles of our communications adviser and helped get key messages across to the people.
We argued successfully for junior minister positions and fewer ministries in the post-independence government, allowing the President to broaden political and regional representation within the government, and simultaneously reduce the number of ministries. The project subsequently conducted a successful induction programme for 90% of the new deputy ministers.
We then initiated new cabinet procedures to improve collective decision-making, particularly regarding policy proposals and more effective use of cabinet committees. Team members presented the proposals to the President and cabinet, who enthusiastically approved them. The new procedures were implemented, and liaison officers were nominated in all ministries to improve the quality of policy proposals and to drive and monitor the implementation of cabinet resolutions.
We also organised a training programme for all cabinet ministers, which was personally endorsed by the President. His opening address emphasised that the Republic of South Sudan should learn from the UK’s strong cabinet system. The training programme covered setting priorities, time management, using deputy ministers effectively and delivering results through ministries. The project also responded to requests from ministers for assistance in developing their Private Offices.
Furthermore, we initiated a 2-day workshop attended by all undersecretaries, which provided practical advice on working effectively with ministers to deliver development priorities (such as in health and education), and drafted a code of conduct for ministers.
The success of the project, in a very challenging environment, was marked; it streamlined ministries, provided effective communications channels and helped the government in its enormous task of building a nation.
“I cannot speak too highly of the project team's achievements. On behalf of the government, I especially thank you for the foresight and flexibility you have demonstrated...you have shown us how a development project should be undertaken in such an environment.”
Deng AlorKuol, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Government of South Sudan