South Sudan can’t afford Independence Day party

Juba – The world’s youngest country has cancelled its Independence Day celebrations, saying what little money it has would be better spent elsewhere as it recovers from a devastating civil war.

South Sudan’s information minister told reporters this week that the nation’s fifth anniversary on July 9 will be observed with a presidential speech instead, “because of the expenses involved”.

The minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the celebrations usually cost at least 10 million South Sudanese pounds, or more than $450 000.

“If we can get this amount of money, we would prefer to use it for resolving our problems in the economy such as issues of payment of salaries and so forth,” he said.

The East African country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but civil war broke out two years later. A peace deal was signed last year after tens of thousands of people were killed and more than 2 million displaced.

South Sudan remains…

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