Mobilising Ugandan Diaspora for Uganda’s Development
(Diaspora Services Division – DSD)
The responsibility of the Diaspora Services Division Desk is to build a warm relationship between the Ugandans living and working abroad and Government by creating an enabling environment and relevant services for the Ugandan Diaspora to effectively participate in the country’s development as well as to promote and protect their interests in the host countries.
The desk also has the duty to coordinate Diaspora interests to ensure that they receive attention by Government.
What has the Diaspora Desk achieved so far and is the Desk open to all Ugandans living abroad?
As an initial step, members of the Diaspora Desk undertook Best Practices visits to four countries (Ethiopia, India, Ghana and Nigeria) as a capacity building measure to enable the staff to learn how other countries were handling Diaspora issues. The report from these visits are to be used as a resource in the formulation of the Diaspora Policy.
Second, the Diaspora Desk developed a website to inform the Diaspora about developments and opportunities at home and for the Diaspora to inform Government about their concerns. The website also has facilities for online registration in an effort to realize collection of data of the Diaspora in order to be able to utilize Diaspora talent in National Development. It should be noted however that the response from the Diaspora to register online has been very slow, therefore I appeal to all fellow Ugandans to register and indicate their skills and contacts, which can be used to solicit your expertise whenever required.
Third, the Diaspora Services Division, in conjunction with other stakeholders, have embarked on the development of a National Migration Policy (NMP) and the Diaspora Policy will be an integral part of the NMP. The Diaspora Policy will formalize how Government wishes to engage the Diaspora.
Fourth, the DSD is currently implementing a project funded by the World Bank aimed at engaging Diaspora talent in the infrastructure sector, specifically in Energy, Roads and Railways subsectors, with particular focus on the following areas: –
Energy Sector – to develop staff capacity to manage oil refining and gas processing
Roads sector – strengthening staff capacity to better handle highway planning and road safety management
Railways sector – to strengthen staff capacity of Railway Corporation to manage Public Private Partnership.
The DSD advertised in the local papers for consultancy services in the above respective areas and also put the information both on the Diaspora and World Bank websites. The information was also circulated through Diaspora associations in the UK and USA. Once again the response was poor. We received only 3 bidders for each sector (railways and roads). As for energy, there was only one bid but that is understandable, since oil is a very new field in the country.
That is where we are, to date, but I would like to point out that the Diaspora Desk welcomes all our brothers and sisters living abroad, any day and time. Please do not hesitate to check on us while in Kampala. Assist the Diaspora Desk to build capacity through networking, knowledge sharing. Diaspora Services Division is a new Desk and your ideas will greatly help in shaping it to serve you better.
DIASPORA SERVICES DIVISION