By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
JUBA, 13 May 2016 [Gurtong] – Jeffrey Bakken was sworn in as USAID South Sudan Mission Director on Thursday in Washington and is expected to begin his post in Juba on May 18.
A statement issued Friday by the USAID, states that as mission Director, Mr. Bakken will oversee USAID’s extensive humanitarian and development programs in South Sudan, which include lifesaving food and other emergency assistance.
A career member of USAID’s Senior Foreign Service at the Minister Counselor level, Mr. Bakken has worked in overseas development assistance for over three decades after joining USAID in 1993.
Mr. Bakken most recently served in USAID’s Global Development Lab as Agency Engagement Director. Before that, he was deputy mission director in Pakistan and director of USAID’s Office of Pakistan Affairs in Washington. Previously, he led the interagency Humanitarian Intelligence Unit at the Department of State and headed U.S. Government efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake. Other positions include serving as director of the Office of South American Affairs in USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and senior development advisor in Iraq. He also served with USAID in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and South Africa. Before joining USAID, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a volunteer, trainer, deputy director and acting director in Ecuador.
The U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Molly Phee said, “We want to thank Teresa McGhie for her outstanding service during her assignment, and welcome Jeff Bakken, whose distinguished background in the development field positions him to play a strong leadership role in supporting the Transitional Government of National Unity during this critical period.”
USAID is the largest donor to South Sudan, having provided nearly $1.6 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of South Sudan since civil war erupted in December 2013, as well as $1.3 billion in development assistance since South Sudan’s independence in 2011.