KAMPALA —Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs has listed key achievements registered in 2022 under his docket.
Walusimbi’s diaspora roles follow under the Office of the President but he works with several other agencies including Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Speaking to reporters in Kampala, Amb. Walusimbi who had just returned to the country from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan said several strides have been registered under diaspora sector as well as the labour externalization sector despite a few challenges.
“Allow me to first report to you the recent working trip that the office had to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Amb. Walusimbi told reporters noting that the government established potential market for the different agricultural products like oranges and pineapples.
“Early next year, my office will receive a delegation of affluent businessmen from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who will be here to see how to start exporting our agricultural products and also explore more business and investment opportunities in the country,” Walusimbi revealed.
The Ambassador noted that during the trip, he met a number of Ugandans who are imprisoned in Jordan for having entered the country with forged documents as well as committing other crimes and he was able to negotiate their amnesty adding that the government of Jordan is working on their release.
“We interacted with the Jordanian Vice Minister & Secretary General of Ministry of Labour Hon. Farouk Al Hadidi, and the Board of Directors of Jordan’s Recruitment Agencies Association (RAA), and discussed Lifting the suspension of the Bilateral Labour Agreement (BLA) between Uganda and Jordan. We were happily informed that that the BLA that expired in Nov 2022 was automatically renewed for another 5 years and will expire in November 2026,” Walusimbi said.
Walusimbi highlighted that, there is a need for government to stream line the companies externalising Migrant workers to Jordan adding that the delegation from Jordan will as well accredit a number of health facilities that will help in conducting medical tests to the migrant workers before they travel for work.
Walusimbi revealed that with the support from relevant authorities at the Airport including the Aviation Police, JAT, Ministry of Gender officials among others, the office has been able save over 30 Ugandans who were victims of human trafficking ever since the office began operations at the Airport.
“Earlier in October, we informed you that Office of the President, Diaspora affairs, was allocated space at the Airport to help coordinate Diaspora issues which include prevention of illegal labour movement of prospective Diaspora and promotion of safe labour migration practices. I am glad to inform you that we are fully operational and in the last 7 days our staff have saved more than 30 victims of human trafficking to UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, India among other countries,” Walusimbi said.
Some of the victims were going to work as domestic workers and others as security guards but had no clearance from the Ministry of Gender which is a minimum requirement.
We are set to strengthen the fight against human trafficking, we are to do this with all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“As we open more job markets for skilled labour like nursing and midwifery in UK, USA and other countries for our Diaspora, I would like to appreciate the Airport authorities for the commendable job you are doing to help us curb illegal recruitment,” He said.
This year, the office helped to repatriate over 20 migrant workers who were stark in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
He added that the office has also hosted a number of potential investors and development partners from different parts of the World and some of who have already registered their companies and will be set to begin business soon.
Among those hosted this year included; American Movie Star, Terrence Howard, Nikita Adams, Dr. Abike Dabiri, Lisa Stark Hughes among others.
The Office was also able to hold a number of events and activities which included a High level symposium on Diaspora Affairs and Labour Externalization, the Migrant Stakeholders Run, Inspection of recruitment companies for compliance among others.
“I would like to wish you all the best during the festive season and a new year ahead. For many of us, this is time to reflect on things accomplished and shortcomings throughout the year. As diaspora, we should strive to work together as a team, this will be the only way to attain our goals and uplift those back home,” Amb. Walusimbi observed.