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Commercial diplomacy money not in the budget

By John Odyek

Added 27th April 2017 10:52 AM

Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa said last financial year a budget allocation of sh4b was made to pilot commercial and economic diplomacy in the eight missions of Berlin, London, Beijing, Pretoria, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Nairobi and Guangzhou.

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Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa said last financial year a budget allocation of sh4b was made to pilot commercial and economic diplomacy in the eight missions of Berlin, London, Beijing, Pretoria, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Nairobi and Guangzhou.


Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa

Uganda's diplomats now apart from drinking tea, tossing glasses of champagne and wines are required to spearhead commercial diplomatic activities to attract investors to Uganda.

Although Government's policy is in favour of commercial diplomacy, no funds in the 2017/18 budget has been provided for this activity that can create jobs to solve the unemployment problem.

Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa said last financial year a budget allocation of sh4b was made to pilot commercial and economic diplomacy in the eight missions of Berlin, London, Beijing, Pretoria, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Nairobi and Guangzhou.

 "However there is a need to roll out this activity in the other 27 missions," Kutesa said in the ministerial policy statement presented to Parliament for debate of the budget estimates for the financial year 2017/18.

The financial year 2016/2017 saw eight missions receive a combined shs 4bn to enhance Commercial Diplomacy activities. The funds were disbursed according to proposed work plans. New Delhi Mission for example received shs 382m for activities under economic and commercial diplomacy

Parliament's committee of foreign has recommended that the shortfall in the 2017/18 should be addressed given the importance of commercial diplomacy in terms of increased foreign direct investments.

 The committee chaired Rose Mutonyi Masababy recommended that commercial diplomacy should be carried out during celebrations of Uganda's national days at the missions. Masababy said the proposed annual budget of $10,000 (s36m) should be provided to each mission for the purpose of promotional activities during the celebrations

Commercial diplomacy is an activity conducted by state representatives with diplomatic status in view of business promotion between a home and a host country. It aims at encouraging business development through a series of business promotion and facilitation activities.

Uganda's Missions remain the lynch pin in promoting the country's commercial and economic diplomacy. Their key goals are promotion of tourism, trade and investment, external resource mobilisation and technology transfers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has tried to ensure that its officers undertake specialized training in trade negotiations, commercial, political and multilateral diplomacy among others to meet this challenge.

Commercial diplomacy can influence foreign government policy and regulatory decisions that affect global trade and investment. The ministry and its over 32 missions abroad endeavor to carry out the various activities to promote Uganda as the best Investment destination, best tourist destination and a source of quality products to the outside markets as well as participating in all negotiations at the World Trade Organisations (WTO), the European Union and other forums.

 

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