President Museveni receives credentials of Norwegian ambassador Anne Kristin Hermansen at State House Entebbe on September 20, 2023. PHOTO/FILE
The Norwegian Foreign Affairs ministry has announced the closure of the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala and the Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. This decision is part of a broader reform of Norway’s Foreign Service aimed at enhancing efficiency and better serving national interests. In addition to these closures, five other Norwegian missions were shut down in July this year.
Norway is currently undertaking structural reforms of the foreign service. As part of the reform process, changes are being made in the diplomatic presence abroad. Concentrating and consolidating is expected to better serve Norwegian national interests, and to increase the effectiveness of Norway’s international engagement. This means that Norway is scaling up its presence in some locations. The consequence is that painful drawdowns must be made in other places.
Five Norwegian missions were closed in July this year. Kampala will be closed by the end of July 2024. Closing of the embassy in Kampala is based solely on overall administrative assessments related to the need for reallocation of the foreign service’s resources.
Uganda is a long-standing partner to Norway, and the excellent bilateral relations are highly valued. Norway wishes to maintain the strong ties that exists between the two countries.
Development cooperation continues. A substantial portion of today’s aid is already administered by the Norwegian development agency, Norad. Future cooperation will be managed by Norad and another mission in the region, yet to be determined. Support through Norwegian and international NGOs as well as the UN and other multilateral channels continues.
Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Anniken Huitfeldt explained that the closure of the Kampala embassy and the Guangzhou consulate is due to administrative assessments regarding the reallocation of resources within the foreign service. The move will involve redirecting diplomat positions to bolster staffing at other Norwegian diplomatic and consular missions.
Huitfeldt emphasized the need for diplomats to be stationed in locations where they can effectively monitor global issues affecting Norway and promote Norwegian positions. The ongoing restructuring is intended to adapt the foreign service organization to safeguard Norwegian foreign and development policy priorities.
As a result, Norway plans to maintain fewer but more robust foreign service missions. More diplomatic staff will be assigned to Norwegian Embassies in Accra, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Kinshasa, and Nairobi, with a focus on priority areas such as food security, business development, and regional security in Africa. The Embassy in Beirut will receive a new diplomatic position dedicated to aid work for Syria.
The Norwegian Embassy in Kampala also represents Norway in Rwanda and Burundi. While the embassy’s closure is part of these reforms, Norway intends to maintain strong bilateral relations with Uganda. Development cooperation will continue, with a significant portion of aid already administered by the Norwegian development agency, Norad. Future cooperation will be managed by Norad and another mission in the region, which is yet to be determined. Support through Norwegian and international NGOs, the UN, and other multilateral channels will also continue.
Norway has been a significant contributor to Uganda’s development efforts, providing substantial aid in various priority areas, including civil society, education, energy, refugees, and women’s rights. In 2022, Uganda received approximately Shs132.3 billion in aid from Norway.