- UN jobs are not only beneficial to their holders, but are of immense benefit to the country of their nationality.
The recent protest by the Ugandan presidency and the legislature against the proposed closure of the UN Regional Service Centre at Entebbe by the UN Secretary General is laudable, not least, because of the potential loss of jobs.
According to the available figures, more than 400 Ugandans are employed at the facility even before we factor in related employment opportunities in hotels, taxis and rented houses in and around Entebbe. Furthermore, such facilities are useful as incubators for nationals aspiring to join UN careers, and often act as a bridge to international jobs in the UN and other international organisations.
But the government can do more to ensure that more Ugandans access jobs in the UN and other international organisations by taking timely action on factors or issues that affect Ugandans in this regard.
For example, Sudan hosts one of the UN’s biggest peacekeeping operations in the world called United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), but because of past frosty relations between Sudan and Uganda, the Khartoum government decided to discriminate Ugandans from employment in this Mission by denying them entry visas and sometimes outright deportation from Sudan.
Even after mending relations through exchange of State visits by the two countries’ presidents, Sudan has maintained this policy, which continues to disadvantage Ugandans, who have toiled to apply, do interviews and get offers of UN jobs.
The policy was extended to others who had got jobs with UN agencies and international NGOs working in Sudan.
Such chances come once in a lifetime and once denied a career, a whole life’s journey may be ruined. I am not sure the government is aware of this and if it does, what measures has it taken to address the challenge.
UN jobs are not only beneficial to their holders, but are of immense benefit to the country of their nationality. For example, poor countries such as Uganda that perennially fall behind in paying their assessed membership contributions to the UN, such contributions are recovered from staff salaries of their nationals in form of staff assessment.
This is a hefty tax deducted from employees’ monthly salaries for the benefit of the country of their nationality. Then add the remittances and investments such staff members make to their home countries. This is why many countries do everything in their power, including using diplomatic channels, to ensure that their nationals access UN and other international organiations’ jobs. Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya and Rwanda are good examples.