Uganda just got one step closer to producing oil with the appointment of Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC).
Not only does the appointment put the UNOC into the hands of an extremely capable CEO, it also once again puts Uganda in the lead for women’s empowerment, as Dr. Wapakabulo is the first African woman to be named as CEO of a national oil company.
The UNOC board chairman, Emmanuel Katongole, announced the appointment in a press release, stating, “Dr. Wapakabulo will lead the set-up of UNOC and manage its transformation into a world class oil and gas company as the country prepares for commercial oil production.”
The UNOC was established under the Petroleum Act 2013, and is responsible for ensuring affordable and reliable supply of petroleum for Uganda. Revenue from oil will play a crucial role in the further development of the economy, as Uganda has been determined that its recently discovered natural resources will be a blessing for all the nation, and not a curse as has often been the case in several other oil-rich countries.
“The UNOC Board of Directors is confident that Dr. Wapakabulo brings experience, energy, drive, and enthusiasm to the UNOC,” noted the press release announcing her appointment. “She has worked extensively on standards of the petroleum industry focusing on integrating life cycle data for oil and gas production facilities,” added Board Chairman Katongole.
At just 40 years old, Dr. Wapakabulo is a powerhouse with numerous degrees and 15 years experience in management at leading multinational companies, including Rolls Royce where she managed cross-functional global teams in the aerospace division as well as several other high level initiatives. Her resume shows innovative solutions, effective leadership, team building, and project management – all of which will be essential to the success of UNOC.
Dr. Wapakabulo also served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Walk Free Foundation, an Australian non-profit dedicated to ending human trafficking, where she brought together diplomatic missions at the International Labour Organization (ILO) to launch the Global Fund to End Slavery. The initiative brought together 150 states in 2014.
She holds a Global MBA from the prestigious French business school, INSEAD, as well as a PhD in Information Science, MSc in Information Technology, and BSc in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Lounghborough University in the United Kingdom. She is also a registered Chartered Engineer in the Institute of Engineering and Technology in the UK.
Dr. Wapakabulo is the daughter of Uganda’s former Speaker and Minister of Foreign Affairs, James Wapakabulo. Her mother is “Mama Angelina” Wapakabulo, one of Uganda’s most celebrated community activists and currently Uganda’s High Commissioner in Kenya.
According to media sources, 37 candidates responded to the notice of recruitment for the CEO. In addition to Dr. Wapakabulo, the impressive short list is said to have included John Bosco, Assistant Commissioner for Pipelines Development in the Petroleum Directorate, Dozith Abeinomugisha, Assistant Commissioner in the Petroleum Directorate, and Abdul Byakagaba, previously with Uganda’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD) and currently with Tullow Oil.