[Juba, South Sudan, Gulf News]: Zain South Sudan, a unit of Kuwait’s largest mobile-phone provider, has reduced operations and cut its number of expatriate staff in an attempt to survive an economic crisis in the African nation spurred by more than two years of civil war.
The company is focusing operations on major towns, limiting some of its coverage elsewhere, and has reorganised its 88-strong workforce by cutting the number of foreign staff and hiring more locals, according to Daniel Deng Lual, the senior director for administration and corporate relations. Its parent, Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co., which has invested at least $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) in the venture, won’t provide more because the unit has failed to make a profit, he said.
“Now we are only at a level of survival,” Lual said in an August 23 interview in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. “There’s no investor who is ready to put more money, but we have to be self-dependent — we have to do everything possible to make us survive.”
A conflict that erupted in December 2013 has claimed tens of thousands of lives and caused economic ruin in what was already one of the world’s 20 least-developed countries. Landlocked South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude reserves yet is pumping as little as 120,000 barrels a day, about half its output just before the war began. The International Monetary Fund projected last year that South Sudan’s economy would contract 5.3 per cent, while inflation exceeded 660 per cent in July. Read full story on Gulf News Telecoms
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