South Sudan has faced economic turmoil since conflict broke out in 2013. This has seen its currency, South Sudan Pound collapse, and inflation levels rise and the economy of the oil-rich nation tanking. Foreign companies including Kenyan banks have been the most affected by the economic turmoil that has followed the conflict.
Kuwaiti Telco Zain has been operating in South Sudan and is also set to restructure its operations in the country. Zain has pumped in $500 Million into the venture and says it will not pump in more money since the operations were not making a profi according to Bloomberg News. Zain on its part says the restructuring efforts will involve reorganization of its 88-strong workforce by cutting the number of foreign staff and hiring more locals. The telco will also focus on its operations in major towns and reducing the coverage in other non-core areas. Zain has a total of 288 sites in South Sudan and owing to increasing conflict, maintenance of these sites has becoming dangerous especially in far-flung areas. Zain currently has 773,000 subscribers and was hoping to increase them to 1 Million by the end of the year.
Early this year, MTN South Sudan made an announcement that it was scaling back on its operations in the nation despite pumping $170 Million dollars into it. The move by MTN included staff reduction measures from where the staff was set to reduce from 170 to around 80 employees MTN also suspended plans to lay infrastructures such as communication towers beside encouraging its 1.1 Million customers to make airtime purchases from bank transfers which would then eliminate distribution costs and the need to import airtime.