USAID Administrator Samantha Power visits Sudan ahead of tumultuous stop in Ethiopia

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power on Saturday began a multi-day trip to Sudan to strengthen the U.S. Government’s partnership with Sudan’s transitional leaders and the Sudanese people in building a new government and “forging democratic institutions following the 2019 revolution that overthrew the regime led by former President Omar Al Bashir—a government responsible for nearly three decades of atrocities against the Sudanese people and systematic corruption,” her office said.

Power’s visit to Sudan comes ahead of a tumultuous stop in Ethiopia where she will confront Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, call for an end to the devastating conflict in Tigray and demand a full humanitarian access into the region.

In a travel advisory released on Thursday, Power’s office said she will “press the Government of Ethiopia to allow full and unhindered humanitarian access to prevent famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.”

On Saturday, after arriving in Khartoum on the first leg of her trip, Power spent the first day of her visit in Darfur, where she met North Darfur Governor Nimir Mohammed Abdel Rahman and discussed how the United States can partner with Sudan to help implement the Juba Peace Agreement, particularly the security measures necessary for the people of Darfur to live safely.

USAID spokesperson Rebecca Chalif said in a statement that “they also discussed ways to build the capacity of the civil service and community organizations in Darfur, technical support to help fight corruption, and development programs to support the safe and voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes.”

Chalif said Administrator Power then travelled to Zam Zam IDP Camp – the second largest IDP camp in Sudan and where many families have lived for almost two decades.

The Administrator toured a USAID-funded solar water pump at the camp that provides safe drinking water to more than 23,000 people, met with women residents of Zam Zam and “discussed their experiences living under the brutality of the former regime, their pivotal role in protesting for change, and the hope the transitional government represents.”

“They also talked about how USAID can address the lack of access to adequate nutrition and health care services, including for pregnant women and young children, in the camp,” Chalif said, adding that Administrator Power sat down with a group of women journalists who recently participated in a USAID professional development program.

“They discussed the restrictions and fear they faced as reporters before the revolution, the unique challenges women face as reporters, and the critical role a vibrant free press must play as part of Sudan’s democratic transition,” Chalif said.

The Administrator also visited a community center in El Fasher and spoke with Sudanese young people about their transitional justice advocacy work and the role of youth in charting a path for Sudan’s democratic future.

Since conflict emerged in Darfur in 2003, the U.S. Government through USAID has provided lifesaving humanitarian assistance to people in need in Darfur, as the largest donor to that crisis response. This year alone, USAID has provided more than $284 million in humanitarian assistance to people in need in Sudan, including Darfur. 

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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