Development cooperation: the Netherlands and South Sudan

The Netherlands is your partner in development cooperation.

Dutch development cooperation policy

The Netherlands' approach to development cooperation is all about people's rights and opportunities. Everyone should be able to stand on their own feet and have opportunities to develop successful lives. The Netherlands also wants governments in developing countries to provide stability and protect their population.


The Dutch government's three ambitions for development cooperation are:

  • eradicating extreme poverty in a single generation
  • promoting sustainable, inclusive growth that also benefits the poorest and most vulnerable populations around the world
  • enabling Dutch companies to succeed abroad.

Doing what the Netherlands is good at

To achieve results the Netherlands invests in the themes where its expertise lies:

Within these themes, particular attention is paid to women's rights, climate change and promoting entrepreneurship.

Aid, trade and investment

Where possible the Netherlands links aid to trade. This contributes to sustainable economic growth worldwide, which benefits people in developing countries – including the poorest and most vulnerable groups in society. And it also provides opportunities for Dutch businesses.

The Netherlands' activities focus on:

  • more and better access to international markets
  • strengthening the private sector in low- and lower middle-income countries
  • promoting trade and investment
  • fair taxation
  • making production and marketing chains more sustainable.

Development cooperation: the Netherlands and your country or region

The history of Dutch aid to South Sudan started long before 2011. From the mid-1970s a considerable part of the Dutch assistance to Sudan benefited the southern part of Sudan, and many Dutch experts and consultants were active in areas such as road construction and maintenance, agriculture and animal husbandry, water management, health, food security, environment and education.

Dutch aid started in a spectacular way when shortly after the end of the first civil war in Sudan a Dutch company (De Groot International from Zwijndrecht) built a sturdy new steel bridge over the river Nile at Juba in only four and a half months. In later years with Dutch support a second bridge was added to cope with increasing traffic. In the late 1970s Dutch companies constructed several major gravel roads, for instance from Juba to Nimule and to Bor in Jonglei State.

This led to the establishment of a large and initially very successful integrated development programme in Bor. Moreover, Dutch organisations like Deltares, Grontmij and Euroconsult did technical studies on inlet and outlet structures for the proposed Jonglei Canal, whereas others consulted local communities on the proposed course of the canal. Unfortunately, the second civil war put an end these efforts in 1983, and many Dutch projects in this area had to be suspended.

As the situation in South Sudan got worse, Dutch aid was redirected towards substantial humanitarian assistance. At the same time much effort was put into supporting peace talks between all parties to the war. Over the years many students from South Sudan have studied in the Netherlands or with Dutch support attended higher and university education in neighbouring countries.

From 2007 the Dutch were part of the Joint Donor Office in Juba, set up to jointly support developmental activities in Southern Sudan in preparation for independence.

In 2011 the Netherlands chose South Sudan as one of its 15 priority partners for development cooperation, aiming to contribute to lasting peace and stability in the country and the region. The development programme in South Sudan focuses on three areas:  water resource management, food security, and security and rule of law. Special attention goes out to cross cutting themes as private sector development, governance, accountability, human rights and gender equality. Also, the Netherlands contributes to humanitarian assistance in South Sudan and to activities of non governmental organizations (NGOs) in South Sudan for emergency and resilience purposes.    

The security situation in South Sudan is of crucial importance to the programming of development cooperation in the country. Due to increasing tensions, violence and travel and other restrictions on aid and humanitarian personnel the implementation and monitoring of development programmes remains a challenge. Conflict sensitivity assessments are conducted at the start of every new project with the support of the Conflict Sensitivity Resource Facility for South Sudan.   

In 2014 the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation suspended development programmes with the central government of South Sudan. This decision followed the lack of progress in the implementation of the terms of the Peace Agreement by the government. Dutch development efforts in the country are now almost exclusively aimed at local governments, civil society and the private sector.

In 2017 the Netherlands spent 28,0 million euro on its development programme in South Sudan:

  • water resource management 9,9 million euro
  • food security 8,0 million euro
  • security and rule of law 10,1 million euro.

Under other programmes (amongst others humanitarian assistance, the advocacy programme and multilateral programmes) an amount of 49,0 million euro was spent, bringing the total for 2017 to 77,0 million euro.

With other donors and the UN the Netherlands is presently looking for opportunities to focus on reducing vulnerability and building resilience of communities in relatively stable areas of the country. This would be done in partnerships between various funding agencies in cooperation with local government authorities, NGOs and the private sector. 

For information on the projects in the three areas, see:

For general information about The Netherlands’ international and development cooperation, please refer to: