Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the closure of 13 diplomatic missions and most of Sudan’s trade offices abroad, the state news agency reported late on Wednesday, in a bid to cut government spending amid serious economic woes.
Sudan has been largely cut off from international financing in the past decades by U.S. sanctions. These were lifted in October but since then Sudan has struggled to attract investors to help prop up its flagging economy.
Last month Bashir sacked Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, one day after he asked parliament to step in and help Sudanese diplomats who had not been paid their salaries in seven months.
In his decree issued on Wednesday Bashir ordered the foreign ministry to implement a “foreign representation restructuring plan”.
It did not identify the missions that are due to close but also includes cutting staff at seven missions down to just the ambassadors, SUNA reported.
Sudan will also shut all its trade and economic offices abroad, apart from the one in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, which was kept open to finalise arrangements for Sudan’s participation at Dubai’s Expo 2020, SUNA said.
Administrative staff would be cut by 20 percent, in addition to a previous decision to cut staff by 30 percent, the agency said. The decree also dismissed administrative staff at the foreign ministry and diplomats were instructed to handle administrative duties.
Sudan devalued its currency earlier this year in a bid lure back foreign investors. Since then the pound has plummeted to about 35 to the U.S. dollar and inflation has jumped to over 50 percent.
Reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Raissa Kasolowsky.