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Friday, December 8, 2023

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The Chief’s Diary: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Inspires Hope

President Bio has his Big 5 priorities. Item 4 on that is public sector and justice sector reform. Today, I continued my on-the-spot visits to MDAs by making an unannounced stop to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation (MoFAIC). Minister Tim Kabba who had just returned from UNGA78 was having a senior leadership meeting when I dropped in. After about 45 minutes there, I left with lots of hope.

Firstly, it’s important for the public to note that these visits are not meant to embarrass staff or show their weaknesses. It’s for me to understand what staff do, understand their challenges and pick up their concerns. My goal is to remove bottlenecks. And then, also learn from what’s working. Here are some thoughts from today.

– At MoFAIC, every staff was at their desk doing work when I showed up. Each was able to articulate and engage substantively on matters I raised. The hallways were empty! No one was roaming. This is important. A major challenge of inefficiencies at public offices is the number of non staff who are often present creating challenges at the ministries. Or staff who aren’t at their desks doing work.

– The compound, the hallways and every facility in MoFAIC was clean. No trash or plastics around.

– MoFAIC was filled with local art work and plants. Beautiful and inspiring working environment.

– The staff are innovative. At the Foreign Service Academy, even without a subvention now, the team is putting together innovative curriculum, teaching labs and amazing programs to help support our public service on protocols, languages and more.

Listen, they aren’t perfect but I left feeling incredibly hopeful. The Minister, his team and the entire Ministry need to be proud of the culture they’ve created and hope they can inspire us all to be that efficient and professional. I left with a few bottlenecks to remove for them and of course, who wouldn’t want to support folks making lots of effort already?

I will be coming to your offices and yes I am more than likely to have cameras following me. Don’t mind them… or maybe smile and send a wave to your family at home. They’ll be proud of the great work you are doing.

Ps- the janitor at the entrance who’s been in the public service for 30 years is inspiring and super full of joy. His only challenge is that he’s a Liverpool fan. I mean, what?!?!

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