Ambassador Walusimbi, Swede envoy discuss strengthening bilateral ties

Ambassador Hajj Abbey Walusimbi, Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs (Centre) with Swede Diplomat, Ms Azadeh Alian-Söderqvist (L) and Lubega Hassan, Trade promotion and communications officer at Sweden Embassy Kampala after the meeting in Kampala (Photo/Handout)

Kampala, (UG):- In a pivotal diplomatic manoeuvre aimed at fortifying ties between Uganda and Sweden, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Ambassador Hajj Abbey Walusimbi, held a high-level meeting with the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, Her Excellency Maria Håkansson.

The meeting, held at the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala, focused on initiatives to deepen collaboration and foster a prosperous future for Ugandans.

During the meeting, Amb Walusimbi emphasized the significance of bilateral relations, stating, “Uganda views Sweden as a valued partner in our journey towards socio-economic development. Strengthening our ties will undoubtedly yield mutual benefits for both nations.”

He also added that this initiative which is pivotal to the diaspora education initiative led by the Office of the President, marks a transformative shift from combating brain drain to fostering brain gain, utilizing the diaspora’s intellect for Uganda’s advancement.

Hajj Walusimbi expressed optimism about the future collaboration between Uganda and Sweden saying; “A brighter future beckons for Uganda as we embark on this journey with Sweden.”

“Our focus on legal migration, cultural exchange, and educational opportunities opens up a world of possibilities for our people,” he added, re-echoing the president’s commitment to prioritizing the Ugandan diaspora community as a key sector for national development.

Highlighting the significance of legal migration pathways, Hajj Walusimbi shared insights from the Swedish embassy on the prerequisites for obtaining a Swedish residence permit. With Sweden offering relatively accessible mechanisms for skilled migration, including advanced degree requirements and comprehensive health insurance, Ugandans are encouraged to prepare diligently.

“It is crucial for our citizens to pursue these opportunities legally and with all the required qualifications to ensure success in Sweden,” he emphasized.

Ambassador Hajj Abbey Walusimbi, Senior Presidential Adviser on Diaspora Affairs with Ms Azadeh Alian-Söderqvist, the Head of Section for Political, Economic, and Commercial Affairs at Sweden Embassy in Kampala

Envisioning a future where returning professionals enrich Uganda with global expertise, the ambassador noted the transformative potential of such initiatives. “Imagine the impact of our professionals returning with global expertise,” he remarked, highlighting the potential for significant national development.

With over 1.5 million Ugandans living abroad and remittances surpassing $1.2 billion in 2023, the financial and intellectual contributions of the diaspora are invaluable. This strategic dialogue between Uganda and Sweden marks a promising step towards a future where Ugandans can thrive globally and make significant contributions to their homeland’s development.

In her remarks, Ambassador Håkansson affirmed Sweden’s commitment to bolstering cooperation with Uganda saying; “Sweden recognizes Uganda’s potential and is eager to explore avenues for enhanced collaboration in various sectors, including education, healthcare, and sustainable development.”

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She also underlined the commitment of the Swedish Embassy to bolster Uganda’s development.
“We are dedicated to creating avenues for Ugandans that not only provide immediate benefits but also lay the groundwork for sustained collaboration and growth,” Håkansson remarked.

H.E. Hakansson further highlighted the embassy’s efforts in facilitating job opportunities, scholarships, and various initiatives aimed at empowering Ugandans.

Azadeh Alian-Söderqvist, the Head of Section for Political, Economic, and Commercial Affairs, emphasized the importance of education and cultural exchanges.

“Education is the cornerstone of development. Through our scholarships and cultural exchange programs, we aim to bridge the gap between our nations, fostering mutual understanding and respect,” Alian-Söderqvist stated.

The discussions also centred on leveraging the Ugandan diaspora community in Sweden as a bridge for fostering people-to-people exchanges and fostering entrepreneurship and investment opportunities.

The strategic meeting culminated in a joint commitment to initiate concrete actions, including the establishment of working groups to explore specific areas of cooperation and the facilitation of cultural exchanges to deepen mutual understanding.

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Uganda and Sweden are looking forward to a promising future of strengthened ties, with both parties expressing optimism that the outcomes of this strategic dialogue will pave the way for tangible progress and prosperity for the people of Uganda.

As Uganda embraces this new chapter in its partnership with Sweden, the implications for national development, diaspora engagement, and international collaboration are profound. This initiative is a beacon of hope, signalling a future where the contributions of Ugandans worldwide are integral to the nation’s success.

The commitment of the Ugandan and Swedish governments to this cause is a powerful reminder of the impact collaborative efforts can have on shaping a brighter future for nations and their people.

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