The Norwegian Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, and the Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, are closing in 2024. Simultaneously, the Norwegian government is boosting the number of diplomatic personnel in selected other embassies.
“In a rapidly changing world,” says Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, “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.”
These actions are part of a broader effort to revamp the Foreign Service and align it with Norway’s foreign and development priorities. The aim is to have fewer but stronger foreign service missions.
To this end, additional diplomatic staff will be assigned to Norwegian Embassies in Accra, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Kinshasa, and Nairobi. This reinforcement will target priority areas like food security, business development, and regional security in Africa. The Embassy in Beirut will also receive a new diplomatic role focused on aiding Syria.
The closures have repercussions for the affected employees, but measures will be taken to safeguard their needs and rights. Minister Huitfeldt emphasizes the responsibility to utilize resources effectively, necessitating closures in some areas to increase staffing at others.
The Norwegian Embassy in Kampala represents Norway in Burundi and Rwanda. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is devising solutions to maintain Norway’s diplomatic representation in these countries post-Kampala closure.
Starting in 2024, the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate General in Shanghai will assume tasks currently handled by the Consulate General in Guangzhou.
Despite these changes, Norway’s commitment to Uganda remains strong. In 2022, Uganda received NOK 382 million in earmarked funds from Norway, supporting civil society, education, energy, refugees, and women’s rights.
The closure of the Embassy in Kampala won’t affect Norwegian aid to Uganda or its dedication to women’s and minorities’ rights. The decision stems from an assessment of the Foreign Service’s overall resources.
“Norway will continue to invest significantly in development cooperation with Uganda through its civil society partners and multilateral organisations. We will also maintain our engagement in promoting human rights in the country, particularly the rights of women and minorities,” assures Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.