As part of the process to automate government institutions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Uganda has faced the need for establishing an innovative, cost effective, convenient and customized system to meet the needs of diplomats, particularly in administering privileges and immunities of the diplomatic corps which usually takes upto 5-10 days for one diplomat to get accredited.
Towards a Solution
Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) launched a new e-system to manage the administration of privileges and immunities to foreign diplomats. The new Protocol Management Information System (PIMIS), developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with South Africa, improves delivery of protocol and consular services at MoFA through the automation of its protocol service processes including; arrival notification, accreditation and Identity card (IDs), tax identification, permits and passes; motor vehicle registration, driver’s license, customs clearance; tax refund; airport pass; aircraft clearance. The new system responds to the Government’s national electronic framework which recognizes Information Communication Technology as a mechanism to foster economic development and e-governance as an important way to improve service delivery. This was mainly aimed at providing quick access to information, reduce workload and save time for the Ministry and for the Diplomatic agencies.
As part of the project, a bench-marking visit to South Africa informed the development of the Protocol Management Information System where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was able to move from manual system and automate the Management Information System (PIMS) for the administration of protocol services for the diplomatic corps. The system was launched in July 2018. The Country office also provided computers (6) for the Ministry to set up a training lab for Diplomatic agencies on the use of the system. The support also leveraged partnerships and the ministry was able to mobilize further support ($300,000) from the Trademark East Africa that is supporting further development of the system to enable linkage to other Government E-Systems.
This project was championed at the highest level of leadership in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Chief of Protocol all providing continuous support from the inception to launch and post launch activities. The Government of South Africa, in Pretoria, also provided adequate learning opportunities which enabled the Uganda mission from Ministries of Foreign Affairs, that of Internal Affairs, and the Uganda Revenue authority to document a detailed and workable report that informed the procurement of local consultancy to design the system based on the South African model. The processes of quality assurance on technical IT aspects was strengthened by the UNDP IT team, with one IT officer assigned specially to backstop the project through contract management, and technical support to validation processes. The UNDP ICT Officer brought experience and expertise developed while working in UNDP Bangladesh.
The main challenges related to resource mobilization in the short run to support the linking of the model to other government systems right from the start. This was however resolved at the launch event in July 2018 when Trademark East Africa offered 300,000 USD (about Uganda Shilling 1billion) to support the further development of the system.
Next Steps: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the support of Trade Mark East Africa is building on the Protocol Information Management System with a focus on (i) integrating services for other Stakeholders of the Ministry to ease online access to information and services, (ii) integrating the National electronic Single Window in the Exemption of Duties and Taxes; and also integrate to Ministries, Departments and Agencies involved in other protocol related services in order to provide an end-to-end automated process for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the wider range of stakeholders.
Some of the objectives this enhanced platform will provide include:
- Reduced Barriers to Trade, which entails improving the supply-side of the trade equation.
- Improved Business Competitiveness, which involves improving the demand-side of the trade equation and mainly aims at increasing the capacity of the private sector in the region to trade more effectively.
The outlook for the ongoing development of the Protocol Information System is very bright with the further innovations/additions to the system. The Ministry is prioritizing internal resources to sustain the system functionality and use.
Countries/territories involved: Uganda, South Africa
Supported by: UNDP Uganda
Implementing entities: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda
Project Status: On-going
Project Period: 2016-2020
URL to the practice:
Name: Innocent Fred Ejolu
Title: Team Leader – Institutional Effectiveness Programme-UNDP
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org