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Civil War Leaves South Sudanese Officials Hustling for Food

  • Government employees seek extra income as cost of living soars
  • Second jobs may have impact on attempts to reinvigorate nation
Refugees from South Sudan cross a bridge over the Kaya river at the South Sudanese border point in July 2017.

Refugees from South Sudan cross a bridge over the Kaya river at the South Sudanese border point in July 2017.

Photographer: Isaac Kasamani/AFP via Getty Images

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They’re high-level civil servants charged with helping South Sudan rebuild institutions and an economy shattered by a four-year civil war. First, though, they need to feed their families in a city where a bean stew can cost a day and a half’s pay.

For two hours in the morning before work at a state ministry, one civil servant orders a junior employee to drive his government vehicle around the capital, Juba, in search of passengers. If his underling collects at least 2,000 South Sudanese pounds ($15.35) in fares then the official can afford a meal for his wife and children. He asked not to be identified because the practice is against ministry rules.