South Sudan to Cut Embassy Staff as Economic Crisis Bites

South Sudan is cutting staff at its foreign embassies amid an economic crisis caused by the oil-producing nation’s more than two-year civil war, Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.

“We are just reducing the staff to cut down expenditure,” Benjamin said Tuesday by phone from the capital, Juba. Each of the country’s 32 embassies “will be left with essential staff only, to assist the ambassadors,” he said.

He declined to comment on a report by the Paris-based Sudan Tribune that cited an unidentified ministry official as saying the country has plans to close at least 10 embassies.

The East African nation has seen its currency collapse and inflation surge since conflict erupted in December 2013 and curbed crude output. The International Monetary Fund projected economic contract of 5.3 percent last year. Landlocked South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil reserves and currently pumps about 160,000 barrels a day.

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