Norway to close embassy in Uganda

President Museveni receives credentials of Norwegian ambassador Anne Kristin Hermansen at State House Entebbe on September 20, 2023. PHOTO/HANDOUT 

What you need to know:

  • Norway is one of countries that provides substantial aid to Uganda.

The Norwegian Embassy in Kampala and the Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, are to be closed, the European country’s Foreign Affairs ministry has said.

“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,” reads part of the statement on the embassy’s website.

The Friday statement announcing the closure comes days after five Norwegian missions in different parts of the world were closed in July this year. 
“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,” the statement adds.

Earlier, the Norwegian minister of foreign affairs, Ms Anniken Huitfeldt who first announced the closure of the Kampala embassy and the consulate general in Guangzhou, China, said diplomat positions from the two missions would be redirected to increase staffing at other Norwegian diplomatic and consular missions.

“In a rapidly changing world, it is essential for us to have diplomats in the places where they can monitor global issues that have implications for Norway and promote Norwegian positions. At the same time, we must continually assess where it is best to maintain a presence in order to safeguard Norwegian interests optimally with the resources we have,” Huitfeldt said.

She said the Foreign Service’s resources are reallocated as part of a larger process in which the organisation of the foreign service is being assessed and adapted to best safeguard Norwegian foreign and development policy priorities. 
According to her, Norway will have fewer, but more robust foreign service missions.

More diplomatic staff will be posted to the Norwegian Embassies in Accra, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Kinshasa and Nairobi in order to strengthen efforts in priority areas such as food security, business development and regional security in Africa. 
The Embassy in Beirut will be given a new diplomatic position dedicated to working with aid to Syria.
The Norwegian Embassy in Kampala represents Norway in Rwanda and Burundi. 

“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.”

Norway is one of countries that provides substantial aid to Uganda. In 2022, Uganda received about Shs132.3b earmarked for projects in the key priority areas such as civil society, education, energy, refugees and women’s rights.