Centurion Law Group’s Adeoye On Importance Of Legal Profession To African Development

Centurion Law Group’s Senior Associate Zion Adeoye is an oil and gas specialist who has focused his career on energy law and finance. He is the Country Relations Lead for South Sudan at Centurion Law Group. He has been a key legal advisor on over 25 oil and gas investments in 12 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Zion holds an LLB from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a BL from the Nigerian Law School. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and the Association of Independent Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN). He is currently undertaking an MBA in International Oil and Gas Management at the University of Dundee, Scotland.

In this interview, he talks about the need for the legal profession for Africa to develop economically.

Do you think the current African oil market is adjusting or keeping up with the modern world – enough to play in the same field as America as UAE? 

Markets, including the oil market, are significantly driven by demand and holding a sizeable supply profile. The modern world is in a state of flux in terms of energy demand and supply, whether we are speaking of hydrocarbons or other energy sources.  Africa has the ability, more than ever, to shape the energy world order rather than merely keeping up.

With the US increasing its production profile, the inevitability of scientific breakthroughs in Shale within the next decade for other regions of the world which are currently major hydrocarbons markets for Africa, and potentially significant shift from fossil fuels in Europe,  there is a risk that many out-bound African projects might be in limbo. unlocking the African market is not just a nice-to-have, it is a necessity.

What would your advice for African markets be?

Africa must bring the strength of its population to bear on the global market. Through centralized and regional efforts, Africa must diversify its economies and empower its people, creating alongside a demand base to be reckoned with globally. While achieving this, Africa must begin to look inwards, create and power industries through its own energy.

The population of Nigeria alone is more than a quarter of entire Europe. There is, therefore, a potentially viable market within Africa, which we must begin to unlock as a priority and Intra-African trade must become a top burner to sustain this. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a statement in the right direction, but we must begin to see concrete steps that match this statement.

Considering the strides and discoveries that took place in 2019, where do you see the African Energy (oil & gas) market going in the next year: Trends for 2020/2021 and why.

Short of fulfilling the Buridan's ass paradox, Africa is more than justified to aggressively pursue its oil and gas exploration aspirations. What we have seen in 2019 is just the beginning as I believe many new players will join the wagon within the next 3 years. We have also witnessed the ascendancy of African independents oil and gas companies in African E&P across Sub-Saharan Africa and this is a trend that must continue in other to retain value within Africa.

There’s been a lot of talk about carbon emissions, do you see African completely turning away from exploration and production of oil and moving towards green energy any time soon? Or do you think Africa’s oil industry needs to adjust uniquely on how it defines itself to be more eco-friendly.

Contrary to general assumptions, even though accidents continue to occur, the oil and gas industry has significantly improved its health, safety, and environment (HSE) profile over the last decade, but admittedly, the improvement falls far short of what scientists have established will be needed to reduce carbon emissions in order to successfully combat climate change.

Drilling down to Africa’s contribution to carbon emissions vis-à-vis its dependency on hydrocarbons revenue, it’s a no-brainer that Africa is the least culpable even while countries like Gabon continue to show leadership on environmental preservation.

While Africa must have a coordinated plan in the medium to long term on energy base transition and also to achieve zero-flare status in its oil and gas industry, China and the US continue to significantly dominate the global emissions profile and more meaningful cuts will have to come from these countries. China and the US contribute about 40% of global fossil CO2 emissions.

Africa certainly needs a further ramp-up period to grow its industries to achieve a level of economic security at which point a whole-scale energy-source shift will be feasible.          

What are your views and predicted operating implications or wins, regarding the recently announced Nigerian Deep offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (Amendment) Act 2019?

The new Act codifies the Nigerian government’s position on lingering issues relating to Nigerian deep offshore and inland basin PSCs, especially the fiscal terms. While investors will make a judgment on whether the terms are fair or favorable for investment, clarity, and certainty through legislative enactment is always a welcome development for investors.

You were one of the legal advisors that drafted, negotiated and advised on the Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) for the B2 Block signed this week between South Sudan and South Africa. What made this deal the deal of the century for the two countries?

To retain significant oil and gas industry value within Africa, a good number of oil and gas deals must have African players at both ends of the table. Having two African countries successfully complete a deal such as the Block B2 acquisition goes one step ahead in my opinion as the local content imperatives of both countries will be afforded full expression. Also, for South Africa and South Sudan, the upstream and downstream synergy potentials on the deal is huge and perhaps a worthy model for cementing of relations between African nations.

You’ve worked on some of Africa’s most significant Energy deals and top matters. Where have you seen a sustained impact and what can other countries/ministries learn?

I am passionate about the African oil and gas industry working for Africans, not only in terms of revenue generation but also in terms of other KPIs such as energy availability for African industries, engagement of the local private sector across the oil and gas value chain and the development of technical capabilities. I have seen significant efforts across the board with the increasing involvement of African players on these KPIs but a lot more is needed.

In terms of scaling up technical capabilities where significantly more impact is required, I believe more opportunities must be afforded to the local private sector players in Africa, because, let’s face it, skills and capabilities are neither gender nor race exclusive. There is an all-but-scientifically-proven standard amount of formal education, practical experience and financial resources required to ramp up to the desired level of capability on any given project. Perhaps regulators will have to be more scientific in aggregating these three elements and making them available to local players.

What do you wish you had known about the legal profession before becoming an attorney?

Simply put, the importance of the legal profession to African economic development. I would argue that many African countries would have been better served by being afforded sound legal advisers at the deal table than peace-keeping soldiers and foreign aid.

It Is Hard To Find Right Human Resource In Academia – Vice Chancellor

All has been well for Assoc Prof Krishna N. Sharma during his time as Vice Chancellor of Victoria University for the past two years. In this elaborative interview, Dr. Sharma tells his story at Victoria University so far.

You have been to Victoria University, for now, two and a half years, what are the highlights of your stay here and the things you have been able to achieve as a Vice Chancellor?

I joined Victoria University in January of 2017. I joined here as dean faculty of health sciences. Then after six months, there was a vacancy for the Vice Chancellor and I applied. Fortunately, I was selected and I was appointed in July 2017.

The journey has not been easy as you know Victoria University had some turbulent times during that period. The good thing is we had a good team at that time and everyone supported each other including directors. We started setting up our targets.

Our priority at that time was to come up with strong policies and procedures. We had some but we wanted to improve on that. In two years, we have almost 30 policies. I am happy that my team could achieve that.

Our next priority was to put in place a good human resource- to attract and retain good human resource. We mobilized professors from Sweden, Nigeria, Uganda and India. We also increased the number of fulltime, dedicated, staff members to decrease the number of absenteeism by lecturers which is very common with part timers because they just come, teach and go.  Part timers are not available to mentor students; they are not committed and never focus. They have limited time at the university.

Our next task was to improve on research and publication since we had the issues of policy and staff sorted. It became very prominent and smoother. In my tenure, we have published about 35 publications including three books, some best sellers. That was an achievement for us.

For the two years, we have significantly grown the number of students who have joined the university. It is in this tenure that we have the biggest intake in the history of this university. Our students’ numbers started improving when we improved on all these administrative things.

We also started on community engagements. It was that time we started engaging communities. We started to go into slums to work with NGOs, held health camps and others. At the moment we are working with Mpigi local government to set up a model village.

Our faculty of social sciences wants to direct all its energy, research, internship, to that project. Every program impacts the community in different ways. Our students are trying to see how they can create a positive impact.

We are trying to see how we can create collaborations because you cannot do everything alone. We started signing MoUs and implementing them. These are the things we are focusing on. We also engaged professional bodies. We sit with technocrats, employers, experts and regulators to revise our curriculum. So we revised everything in the curriculum. We made it more practical, market driven and research based. We needed that paradigm shift.

We started improvising technologically. We are going away from the paperwork way; we are now going digital. We have systems in place to achieve this. That is where we have started going, fortunately, we are seeing some good response.

We have started working with the Uganda Cricket Association and Federation of Uganda Basketball Association offering free courses to officials and players. We are planning to do so much so that we can create an impact. 

You seem to have settled in quick going by some of the things you have been able to achieve at this university, what are some of the factors that made this possible?

When settling in a new place, their setups that you need to put in place first. I have worked in Africa earlier before coming to Uganda, in Cameroon. So I was quite comfortable working in Africa. When I came here, I didn’t see any difference between India and Africa.

We all have that culture of togetherness so for me it was not difficult and Uganda being a friendly country, I settled in fast. In the institution, I was fortunate that I found a good team. Everyone was supportive and that gave me an advantage.

I got good friends through the university community and rotary club.

One of your priorities, when you arrived at this university, was to prioritize and focus on research and publication of research findings, what is the scorecard now so far?

When I joined, at that time, we had only about three or four publications since 2010. But since I joined, we have about 35 publications, by both students and lecturers. That is quite a good improvement in the past two years.

What we want to bring to this university is the culture of research. Under research, all around the world, the leading motivation is peer recognition. This year we are going to set a research agenda as a university and every faculty will set their own research agenda. Then every student and every staff. But all must fit in the whole research agenda of the university.

When you came in, you made it clear that for a student to progress, grades and classwork marks shouldn’t be prioritized over skills development, now that you have been here this long, do you still share this same school of thought?  

I still feel the same. Scoring high marks doesn’t prove that you will be successful in life. This is why we were having a discussion about the awards given to students who get good grades in exams. We said, why should we only recognize those who pass their exams and ignore those who do well in exams but also in other co-curriculum activities like sports.

Why are we judging them by the ability to cram their classwork and have good grades? Why can’t we recognize someone who is just passing their exams but is doing very well in the community? That is why we identified a student who is good at music and I linked him to a colleague in India. They are going to record music together.

And the students are responding well. Students are coming up with proposals for project ideas they like and passionate about.

In the recent past, we have seen Victoria University enter into several partnerships with different organizations, are the fruits coming through?

Our collaboration with Speke Group of Hotels offers a better opportunity for internship opportunities. Our collaboration with Victoria Hospital and other hospitals around us is giving us better opportunities for students in the faculty of health sciences to do the internship. Through our other collaborations, we had an international trip to Kenya. These partnerships are important.

As the head of the administrative unit at Victoria University, what challenges have you faced?

My biggest challenge is to find the right human resource in academia. We get so many applications but unfortunately, when we interview them we get disappointed. Many people are trying to make money.

You find someone with four masters but not a PhD. They are doing these master’s not because they love them but because they want to show that they can do this and that because they have studied it. This means you are a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Why would a parent choose to bring his or her child to study at Victoria University?

A parent and student should know why they should join a particular university. There are so many institutions out there. For example, why should one go to a business school when they can help their parents operate a shop or anyone’s shop and start learning on the ground?

What is the essence of going to university, and that is a question that is coming up very often?

Before going to a university, a student and parent should know what the child wants to do for the rest of his or her life. I suggest that parents should help their children identify their passion. 

At Victoria University, we help you identify where your strength lies as an individual. You don’t have to sit in a class with hundreds of other students, you can’t get that Victoria University.

Victoria University has state of the art facilities. Our professors are well vetted before being recruited. Every lecturer is interviewed not just by anyone but the VC, faculty deans, university council and the appointments committee. We are so careful when finding a fulltime staff.

We help students get an internship at the right organizations. We structure internship objectives for students, give them internship introduction letters, pay for the internship and the student will just go to do the internship. Thereafter, the student will have to defend the internship report proposal, even at diploma level. I am surprised many universities in Uganda don’t do it.

We don’t have too much negative bureaucracy. If a student wants to meet me, I am available for mentorship, guidance and guidance. Other members of the management and teaching staff are available. A student doesn’t need to have an appointment to be attended too.

I Want To Make Victoria University A Good Place For Learning – Guild President

The desire to improve the lives of students at Victoria University inspired Mark Serebe, the new crowned Guild President, to take up a leadership role at the Ruparelia Group owned university.

In this Interview, Serebe narrates his life’s story, ambitions and all that he plans to do for the University.

Tell us about your background, your childhood, time through schools and what you want people to know about you as the reigning Guild President of Victoria University.

I can say that my parents have done a great job in as far as educating me is concerned as I have gone to some of the best institutions in the country like Kings College Budo where I did my O' level and from Buddo Secondary School where I did my A' level.

Two things that I say about myself is that am an easy guy and I can easily get along with anyone and I respect everyone irrespective of where they come from so I believe that I will be the same for the students of Victoria University

What attracted and inspired you to join students’ leadership here at Victoria University and in schools that you have attended?

From my personal experience at Victoria University, there were issues to do with communication between university management and the guild especially when it came to the area of internship and defending of research and dissertation especially for those that are at the final stages of their degree programme.

So I decided to stand to resolve these issues and make university life easy for the ones that plan to join us.

How do you intend to balance being a student and a Guild President of a vibrant and growing university?

I set my priorities straight and I am making sure that my activities for the week are fully planned to ensure that am not caught off guard and that at the end of the day I am able to work both effectively and fulfil my commitments as Guild President.

How do you plan to deploy the skills and knowledge you have acquired from this University to grow the institution and to the public benefit?

With the knowledge that I have acquired while studying my course (Human Resource Management), I plan to use it to create harmony with the team and promote real human relations.

This will enable us to go forward as a university. I will use my knowledge to explain to guild members their roles so that they can be effective in the execution of those roles.

What are some of your plans for the University as Guild President? What do you want your tenure to accomplish by the end of the mandate?

I plan to ensure that the academic affairs of students are greatly improved by making sure students get their results on time and that they receive information from their deans as quickly as possible.

I have greatly emphasized the lack of information flow at the University, therefore, students couldn't take action; so my method to solve this is to often organize meetings to address student issues.

These are some of the few things I plan to accomplish during my tenure along with ensuring the school cafeteria provides food to students that is affordable. Right now it is not yet available.

You mentioned in an earlier interview that you want to bridge the gap between the students and University management – please describe the current state of affairs and the solution you intend to offer.

Currently, students get to know important information about the guild and the university through WhatsApp. This system is not enough as some students are not on WhatsApp and others lose their phones during the semester.

They end up missing out on that information. I plan to combat this by getting student numbers so that alongside WhatsApp, we can send them SMS in case they cannot access the social media platform.

What are some of the pressing challenges that the student leadership and university management need to address?

I must say this right from the start that the university challenges are not too big to be solved but for me, the challenges are communication between the two bodies (University Council) and the guild body to ensure that the students are served and that they acquire the best education in the best way possible.

Do you feel any pressure to perform as a Guild President – from your peers, university management or from yourself?

Yes, I do get that pressure. Sometimes from my peers who expect me to know every single thing about the guild yet sometimes, I also get information late from the university management.

Management must maintain a good public image to ensure that Victoria University is seen as a prestigious university in Uganda.

What do you hate and love about leading your fellow students?

I like leading these students especially when it comes to important university information or calling people to attend conferences outside the university.

The current challenge is when it comes to parties. They don’t turn up as expected which is really disappointing considering the time you take to budget and prepare the venue for the event.

Why did you choose Victoria University Kampala of all universities in Uganda and the world?

At first, I didn’t really see much importance which university I went to but over time, the more I got engaged in student activities and lectures, the more I got to see the true value of understanding the concepts that we were being taught.

In Victoria University, the student numbers are small so lecturers can easily explain better the concepts putting us at the advantage when the time of employment comes into play. So as of now, I don't regret the decision my parents made for me to join Victoria University.

How best can you describe your stay here, at Victoria University, as a student?

I don't exactly have the right words to say because I have had good days when I enjoyed myself like on International Day and very bad days like when under bad circumstances I was almost given a retake yet it wasn't my fault but that of the people that were correcting our exam timetable.

But what I can say is that I hope by the time I pass on the torch of Guild President to the next person, the university will truly be on a different level from other universities.

Would you join Victoria University if you had another opportunity and task to choose which university to join?

I wouldn’t mind joining it again though there is another university that truly interests me; that is the International University of East Africa.

I like it for its diverse cultural identities - with people from DRC, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania all studying in one university.

Did Victoria University meet your expectation once you joined and became a student?

At first, I wasn't satisfied with the university but over time I came to appreciate all that it had to offer. So I can say my current stand is fair with room for improvement.

Would you recommend parents to bring their children to this University?

Yes. I would. I know one of the things that scare them is tuition but the university management has enhanced scholarships that smoothen the burdens that the parents have to bear for their children.

The scholarships enable students to proceed through the semester without any delay or mishaps unlike some of the other universities where students lose between 2 weeks to a month because of strikes from students and teachers.

Local Content Development Investment Must Be Supported By Strong Regulations

There's so much excitement about where Angola's energy sector is headed. Sergio Pugliese, a successful entrepreneur and oil executive, is really hyped and enthused about recent developments and future direction of his country's energy sector.

Angola is ranked second largest oil producing country in Sub-Saharan Africa and an OPEC member with an output of approximately 1.55 million barrels of oil per day and an estimated 17,904.5 million cubic feet of natural gas production.

Production levels in Angola are expected to soar by 2020 following the country's restructuring, including the reorganization of the state oil company Sonangol.

In addition to a drastic revision of  Angola's legislation related to oil and gas, the government's intent is to spur growth in the sector, encouraging exploration in development areas, improving operation efficiencies, reducing taxes, empowering the private sector, and attracting investors.

Since the 2017 elections, Angola's oil and gas sector has been featured in numerous conferences aimed at linking top government officials with the global energy industry.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC), the continent's voice for the ongoing change and progression in the African energy industry recently named Sergio Pugliese as the AEC's President for Angola.

The appointment will be the first of many to follow across the continent as the AEC guides local content development that will enable African companies to grow and take the lead in the development of their continent. In an official statement, Pugliese notes:

"It is with great sense of responsibility towards Angola and the African Energy Chamber that I am assuming this new function. Angola is reforming is very fast and the need to provide accurate information and guidance for investors doing business in Angola is growing".

Prior to being named the AEC's President for Angola, Sergio Pugliese most recently worked with BP and Statoil as top executive before founding Angola-focused oil and gas services companies Motiva LDA and Amipha LDA.

The rapid change and reform in Angola's oil sector since the 2017 election has caught the attention of many. Will this enhance Angola's work towards attracting more investment into local content development? 

Investment into local content development needs to be channelled and supported by strong regulations. As more foreign investors get into the market, the country is currently working on a new regulatory framework to promote the development of the Angolan content and build domestic capacities.

At the moment, several pieces of legislation touch on local content and there is a definitive need to make our local content framework more efficient and competitive. A draft presidential decree on local content has been in the works this year and is expected for release and public consultation this month.

The oil Industry is looking forward to the Angola Oil and Gas conference organised by Africa Oil and Power in Luanda from June 2nd to 4th. The President is going to unveil the government's oil and gas agenda.

As the largest oil lobby in Africa, we will be working closely with the government and the oil industry on this. The Oil industry and Angola needs a champion and we will be that champion.

There was an announcement this year by the Angolan Government that it will create a regulatory body for the hydrocarbons sector – What do you expect this move to encourage within the Angolan Oil and Gas sector? 

The creation of the new Angola National Petroleum and Gas Agency (ANPG), officially launched through Presidential Decree 49/19 in February 2019, is one of the most significant reforms since 2017. Its pioneer Chairman is non-other that experienced oil and gas executive and former Secretary of State Paulino Jeronimo, who has earned a very good reputation within the industry following an impressive track record stretching over many decades.

More importantly, it will be acting as Angola's national concessionaire for hydrocarbon licenses and be in charge of regulating the industry and implementing government policy. The creation of the agency is part of Angola's efforts to streamline and overhaul the governance of its hydrocarbons sector. Up until now, state-owned Sonangol was responsible for such licensing activities. Setting up the ANPG

puts Angola at par with best oil and gas industry practices, and is a positive move to promote good governance and transparency within the Angolan industry. We expect foreign investors and operators to respond very positively to this measure.

What strategies does Angola have to further encourage the financing of expansion of SME's in its petroleum sector?

The government of Angola currently runs a number of programs, some of them, jointly funded with multilateral organizations which offer soft loans to SMEs in all sectors of the economy. These loans are accessible via state-owned banks but have especially since the 2014 financial crisis stringent criteria for access attached to them.

The Africa Energy Chamber continues to advocate for such loans to be made available to local entrepreneurs who are likely to employ more people in good-paying jobs whenever they have access to the right kind of financing. In the near future, I will lead a delegation to Europe, America and other African countries to see what they have done right and will build more coalitions to help the Angolan sector.

Are there any specific local content projects that Angola will be highlighting?

I think the current approach by the Angolan government to encourage and strengthen local companies via tools such as offering them soft loans, rather than legislate them into projects is the best way of building local companies in a competitive manner. That is, they are more likely to be capable of competing with internationally active companies and hence ensuring their survival in the long-term.

What in your view are the common challenges in implementing strong local content policies in the Oil and Gas sector?

Some of the common challenges include the absence of capital, technology and deep industry know-how for local companies to carry out the high paying services in the industry. This eventually leads to local content being relegated to low paying and low jobs that do not in the long run help develop the kind of capacity needed to run the industry in the future with reduced dependence on foreign staff or capital.

What is the importance of working with local companies across the value chain?

Local companies are the ones that support the local economy and create the most jobs. Engaging, partnering and working with them promotes technology, skills and know-how transfers. It is also beneficial for robust national employment growth.

More importantly for business perhaps, local companies are the ones with the deepest and most relevant knowledge of the local market environment, its dynamics and the way to do business. Setting up a joint venture with a local company or partnering with them has proven a very sustainable and profitable business strategy for many foreign investors. 

The Chamber will be pushing for more joint ventures and encourage a lot of technology and skill transfer. Local companies have to also do their best to meet the industry demands and standards.

How can this strengthen capacities and transfer know-how and increase local capability?

Exposing local companies to best international practices, be it on an operational or managerial level, is very beneficial. National oil companies have grown a lot this way, by having stakes in licenses operated by international oil companies, and acquiring de facto the technology, know-how and practices that they now use to operate their own blocks.

This move wouldn't have been made possible without their prior association with major IOCs and international oilfield services providers. The same thinking applies to engineering, procurement and construction, manufacturing and the overall value chain.

Equatorial Guinea's Minister Gabriel Obiang Lima has been very vocal about this and we will work with the Angolan oil sector to ensure this happens.

Given the highly technical and technological demands of the oil and gas industry, is the Angolan workforce ready to accommodate the growth of a local E&P industry?

Yes, certainly so. Similar to Nigeria's experience, where the government created the right kind of enabling environment to spur the growth of local E&P companies, Angolan companies can do the same if provided the same opportunities. Nigeria can now boast of names like Oando, Sahara, Aiteo, Shoreline, Atlas Oranto and Seplat amongst others which are now respected brands in the region.

Angolan banks have to develop capacity in terms of understanding E&P, be willing to lend to local players at reasonable rates and the government has to encourage joint ventures between Local and international companies. The Africa Energy Chamber strongly advocates for such measures to be taken.

What, in your view, is the most pressing problem for Angola's energy sector?

Angola desperately needs more exploration, including in marginal fields to stem the declining oil production. This is currently being addressed by the government which set up a technical committee that includes IOCs and government stakeholders to discuss existing hindrances to investment in the sector.

This committee is already bearing fruit with Total announcing that it will invest hundreds of millions into Angola, including towards the increasing of production in block 17. The government also set up an independent Petroleum and Gas agency which is tasked with action as a regulator in the industry and implementing government policy in the sector. The agency has already announced that it will carry out an auction for block licenses this year in an attempt to spur exploration in Angola.

Where do you see the greatest potential for Angola's Oil and Gas sector in the future?

There is potential across the value chain. In upstream, our production has been decreasing for over a decade due to a lack of investment, especially in exploration. We are seeing the trend reversing now with several investment commitments from operators in the market. More importantly, perhaps, the rest of our value chain remains under-developed.

Our midstream and downstream infrastructure needs billions of investment to connect existing and future fields to consumption centres, and to build the refineries, power plants, petrochemical plants and fertilizer plans who will be processing our future output of oil and gas.

What is your thought on what is considered an urgent need to develop a gas economy in order to fuel future electricity, enable renewables and support industrial development for the benefit of Angolans?

The major pillar that was needed to build our gas economy was the regulatory one, which has been passed last year. Presidential Decree No. 7/18 is the first law aimed at specifically regulating the prospection, research, evaluation, development, production and sale of natural gas in Angola.

To date, only the Angola LNG Project had benefited from a special legal and tax framework. Before the passing of PD 7/18, the exploration and production of natural gas in Angola was subject to very broad principles only.

These notably included making associated natural gas surplus available for free to Sonangol, and the possibility for oil companies to jointly-develop non-associated natural gas with Sonangol, with terms defined on a case-by-case basis. Sonangol was free to develop the non-associated gas discoveries on its own shall no agreement be reached with the oil company.

Under PD 7/18, both Sonangol and oil companies have the rights to prospect, research, evaluate, develop, produce and sell natural gas in the international and domestic markets. More importantly, the decree provides for the possibility of specific and longer periods for natural gas exploration and production as compared with crude oil. Such periods can now all be extended so as to accommodate the particularities of developing a natural gas project.

However, and as experience has shown, the success of Angola's gas economy will now rely on the creation of gas demand centres and the development of gas-consuming industries. These include power generation, petrochemicals and fertilizers, compressed and piped natural gas in the retail space, but also steel and cement.

This is probably where the most urgent need currently lies as we want to make sure the future gas output will not be just exported internationally but used domestically to build industries and create jobs for Angolans.

With Africa been considered the last frontier, why does it seem to not have reached its full potential? What is causing this blockage in greater development? What role could Intra-Africa trade play in this regard?

Weak governance structures and lack of investment in exploration have so far prevented Africa from exploiting its full potential. This particularly applies to Angola. The crash in commodity prices in 2014 was just the ultimate blow to our industries who were, in fact, relying on weak foundations.

Tough lessons have been learned over the past few years on the need to reform our legislative frameworks, provide better clarity to investors, and diversify our economies. Intra-African energy cooperation has a major role to play in this regards as it is able to unlock massive deals and projects.

The case of Senegal and Mauritania who are developing the giant Tortue gas field, or of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon who recently signed a unitization agreement for gas, are prime examples.

There is so much to be achieved from a greater African energy dialogue in terms of transnational projects and exchange of commodities. In this regard, we believe that not only the private sector, but also and above all African national oil companies (NOCs) have a major role to play in driving that cooperation forward.

Could you introduce yourself to our international audience and the scope of your role as AEC's President for Angola?

I moved back to Angola two decades ago after I completed my studies at Cambridge and the University of Adelaide from where I earned my MBA. This was the golden age of Angola's oil and gas sector, so I naturally started working with major international oil companies such as Statoil and British Petroleum.

This is where I got firsthand experience into the commercial, financial and technical aspects of operating producing oil blocks. I am a strong advocate of our local industry and have always been an entrepreneur at heart, so I eventually went on to set up Amipa LDA and Motiva LDA, two Angolan oil & gas services companies.

In my role at the Chamber, I intend to both facilitate the entry of new players and investors and ensure domestic capacities and capabilities are developed and good paying local jobs are created for Angolans.

The reforms led by H.E. President Joao Lourenço are profoundly transforming our oil and gas industry by improving its business environment. This is generating tremendous interest from the international energy community and the network of partners the Chamber has. With over a decade of experience in the sector globally, I am able to bring them the kind of local and sector expertise they seek when coming to Angola.

Under the leadership of its Chairman NJ Ayuk, the Chamber has been at the forefront of the most important and recent deals in Africa's hydrocarbons sector and we truly look forward to bringing these deal-making abilities to Angola. We are going to be champions for Angola. Our country needs champions.

What will be the strategic importance of African Energy Chamber to the Angolan Oil and Gas sector?

The African Energy Chamber will be channelling global interest for Angola's oil & gas sector, providing local knowledge on the market and advisory support for investors and local companies. More importantly and in line with our mandate to build African capacities, the Chamber will act as a catalyst for training Angola's oil & gas workforce, build domestic capacity and advocate for an enabling environment.

Low taxes, limited government, fair local content, fair fiscal frameworks, market-driven policies, incentives to drill, judicial security and respect for the rule of law will get us to a fairer and balance oil sector.

What advice do you have for potential foreign investors looking at Angola as well as your own AEC members?

A major advice is to carefully choose a local partner. Investors tend to think that with enough capital and experience they can make it. While this is not entirely false, tying-up with an Angolan partner or establishing cooperation with a local entity on the ground always gives a major boost to a new business, especially in its early years.

Operating in Angola does come with a few challenges that can easily be overcome if an investor works with the right people and the credible and efficient local companies that know the market and how to get things done. We also tell investors to not just look at the upstream segment but consider opportunities across the value chain, be it in midstream, downstream, fabrication, services and supplies.

A market like Angola which produces almost 1.5 million bpd offers considerable opportunities across the industry and anyone looking at Angola shouldn't consider exploration and production as the only lucrative investment to be made here.

Where do you want to take the AEC in your tenure of President for Angola?

The AEC will become the entry door to Angola's oil & gas sector. We want to ensure that there is an enabling environment for oil and gas investments. Oil companies must be given the incentives to invest but we are the oil industry also know we have an obligation to the Angolan people.

We have to work with policymakers and implement strategies and solutions that will work in Africa. Look at Gabon's leadership on the environment, Equatorial Guinea on Gas monetization, Ghana on building regulatory frameworks.

Also, also look at Nigeria when it comes to empowering Africans.  We are already receiving lots of queries from new investors wishing to enter the market, and having local representatives on the ground is positioning us as a strong advisor and facilitator for foreign investors, while being able to properly communicate what is happening on the ground to the international energy community.

On the second hand, we also want to be building domestic capacity, both by training and skilling Angolans so they can take on additional responsibilities across the value chain, but also by bringing in more technology and best practices to our local companies so we contribute to boosting local content.

Trade Minister Commends Rosebud, Premier Roses

The state minister for trade and cooperatives Michael Werikhe has commended Rosebud and Premier Roses for the work they doing in floriculture industry.

The two firms owned by Ruparelia Group have continued to be the leading exporter of rose flowers to inthe international market. Because of their resilience, they have earned Uganda billions of shillings in foreign exchange.

"We  commend  both  Rosebud and Premier Roses for continuing to remain the biggest exporters of high quality Rose stems to the international market and do encourage their colleagues  to double their efforts in terms of improved products to attract better export returns" the minister said in an interview with Xpress Times, a local online news publisher.

He said that Rosebud did the country proud when they exported close to 16m high quality Rose stems to the World market during this year’s International Mothers day which falls every  May 13th, a season where the world flowers demand shoots up especially in  the Americas, Europe and the Scandinavian countries.

"Statistics emerging from the sector indicates that Rosebud being the biggest exporter of Rose flowers did our country proud by way of increasing their export capacity down from the normal 13m stems per month to over 16m respectively  just within that one month of International Mother’s day festive," he revealed.

"My ministry which is strategically charged with responsibility of observing  figures of all types of exports from Uganda shall continue to work with these investors to ensure that all necessary technical and logistical support is extended to them because of their pivotal role of empowering our people in fighting household poverty by way of creating thousands  of jobs for them not only in the flower sub sector but other key areas of the economy such as education, Real Estate, hospitality industry, Insurance among others” noted Werikhe.

The farm manager Ravi Kumar exclusively told Xpress Times recently that they have stepped up their corporate social responsibilities [CSR] efforts by way of helping the community of  Namulanda which surrounds both  their two farms to  benefit from a special pack  of free social services like access to clean water, healthcare, education and sports among others.

"We  sincerely appreciate the close cordial relationship we enjoy with the community of Namulanda at large as we closely ensure that they access free social services like access to water, financial services, education, healthcare and sports respectively as these are part of our official company corporate social responsibility work of giving back to the immediate communities’’ noted Kumar.

Rajiv Ruparelia the managing director  of Ruparelia Group said Rosebud is now well placed and has capacity to export more high quality Rose flowers to the World market because they have increased on their acreage output, fighting pests on farm and the deliberate introduction of new high quality flower species.

"Rosebud assures the country that they have developed full capacity that enables them to export more volumes of flowers to the world  and promised to continue creating more jobs especially  empowering the women who are vulnerable to poverty as they carry the biggest burden of nurturing their families" Rajiv observed.

We Must Prepare Students To Be Able To Create Jobs - VC Victoria University

In 2010, a new private university, Victoria University, opened its door to Ugandans who wanted to pursue post secondary education but wanted something different from what the existing universities were offering.

However, it was not smooth sailing for Edulink Holdings Limited which owned the university at the time. Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia came to the rescue and in 2013, Victoria University, became part of the Ruparelia Group.

The University was  moved from its original home on Kiira road to Victoria Towers on Jinja Road, opposite Dewinton Road in the accessible city center.

In this interview, the vice chancellor Dr. Krishna N. Sharma expounds on the abilities and future of the University.

 What is the difference between the Victoria University of five
years back and the one of today 2018?

Victoria University is growing on a steady progress, every university grows slowly and universities are not like secondary schools, where you can keep loading in students on short term basis. You know any university is a universal thing, it doesn’t handle only teaching, it has many responsibilities, it does teaching, community engagements, research and publication .

when we talk about the university progression we talk about all the aspects. When we started we had only four programs in 2010 but now we have 20 programs, we have reviewed all our curricular with in these five years and the beautiful thing is that government doesn’t stop you from keeping reviewing your curricular in order to do something extra to your students.

When it comes to publications, we are building up capacity and just with in 2017 we published 25 publications including two books and our students have published because right now we have 5-6 publications in the pipeline.

On community engagement, we are moving because we keep going to camps to do the stress tests, counseling and apart from that our students have new creation, they have set new small nutrition groups in schools. 

Right now if you visit primary schools in Kamwokya pupils will tell you what to eat or not what to eat, how to clean your hands in homes and communities they are living in courtesy of knowledge they got from our students.

These students do their research within the community. So when you talk of progression, yes we are moving.

Where do you see Victoria University going within the next 10
years or more?

we have many plans but the education system is such a dynamic field, you cannot say that you are going to do A-B-D-C. We have bigger plans, we are going to start more masters programs, we are going to have more international collaborations like now we are in touch with Iceland government for a project, and we are in touch with one Swedish company and some hospitals to help them in research.

In future we are going to focus much on research and innovations. And certainly we shall set up branches in the next 10 or 15 years, in other parts of the country, that’s the plan but initially we wanted to first build up our expendable own campus in Kampala. so once we grow and become bigger then we shall expand this campus. 

What makes Victoria University different from other universities in Uganda?
Let me start with the different aspects of personalities of students or the student’s life. When you went to university trust me you went to study and pass the examination.

For example you may have some good friends you studied with and they are of big ranks in government and you can call them and say hi, and that kind of environment is what we want to give to our students and not only on national level but also internationally.

In lifestyle, were are in the heart of the town, they have that exposure, a person can come from the village and then learns how to live in high society.

When new students come here and see the cleanliness here after spending with us three years they will not want
to see dirty environment in their homes or where they are employed.

They also want to keep the open roof policy. We don’t treat them as students, we treat them as participants and our methodology of teaching is very beautiful I can tell you.

What do you do to students who come from far? Does university have students’ halls of residence?
First of all we don’t differentiate our students, we treat all of them equally, we identify their challenges and we sort it.

Those who want to rent hostels they can rent, our hostels are located just near at Nkrumah road about five minutes from here, students who come from abroad, we pick them on the first trip, our admissions office help them for visa .

Every year we see thousands and thousands graduating and joining
street life, searching for jobs, but with little success. Who should we blame for this unemployment in Uganda? Government?

I think government is not a problem, what else do you expect from government? The first problem is the thousands and thousands of graduates.

You cannot teach one thousands while you are graduating one thousand. Teach the number of students that you can handle. You see in developed countries like in India if anyone wants to start nursing school, the nursing council has to come and tell you the number of students your supposed to teach.

What is lacking in Uganda is technical skill, students go to classroom, a lecturer comes and you know professors have their own problems all over the world. They want students to read what is written in the book but the book is outdated, which is different with Victoria University.

We teach knowledge, attitude and skills. In UK or other developed countries I don’t think people die to get government jobs, graduates want to work for themselves because they have knowledge and skill. Literally governments around the world cannot employ every one.

It’s us the institutions that must prepare students for the market. For example we have mentored some of our students at Victoria University to start up their own companies.in Uganda it’s only our nursing students that do dissection not anywhere else. Uganda’s problem of unemployment is the poor quality of graduates institutions produce.

 

Oil & Gas Training: Victoria University To Benefit From Coventry University’s Experience

Skills development in the oil and gas industry is a key component in preparing Ugandans to work in this new moneyed industry. In this industry we talk to Dr. Drake Kyarimpa, the Coordinator of Oil and Gas Training at Victoria University Kampala.   

Victoria University Kampala is one of the few tertiary institutions offering oil and gas related training, right now, what is the Department of Petroleum and Gas Studies under the Faculty of Business and Management offering? 

What I can say is that the programs that Victoria University has been offering, the short courses which run for sex weekends and the long term program, the BSc in Oil and Gas Accounting, which is three years, are actively running. 

These are skill imparting courses; normally we include practicals aspects in all the modules we delivers in the oil and gas certificate courses. We have the theory and practical part of the training. 

The practical part is enhanced by field trips to the albertine region. The field trip is compulsory once you do the six weeks. We work with ministry of energy and mineral development and oil companies to make these trips happen. 

Our target are students who have finished A-Levels and has two principal passes; that is the minimum for the certificate courses. We cannot admit someone who is or has only finished senior four. Then we are also looking those others working in the industry. 

Apart from those who have completed A-Level, all the others, whether you are a degree holder, diploma holder in any other sector of the economy, but you want to want or have interest in knowing the workings of the oil and gas industry, we can admit and train you.

We are now recruiting delegates for short courses, for July-August intake. We train our delegates along the entire oil and gas value chain. 

Lets talk about accreditation, oil and gas industry is quite demanding and sensitive, there are international accrediting bodies and organizations, are you working with any or has any accredited you to carry out these training? 

You know very well that this University wouldn't be existing if it has not been accredited by Uganda National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). This implies that all courses offered by Victoria University are genuine and of high quality. Most importantly, the short courses offered here are localized and introductory modules. 

The advantage Victoria University has when it comes to oil and gas training is that the quality of our training programs has been enhanced by our partnership with Coventry University in the United Kingdom.  

We are coordinating an oil and gas project with Coventry University and Ministry of Education and Sports called Twinning for Curriculum Development, International Accreditation and Adaption and Training in Petroleum Related Construction Trades at Uganda Technical College, Kichwamba. 

In the long term, we hope that Coventry University together with the ministry of education, will also accredit all the oil and gas short courses at Victoria University. 

You mentioned that you are worried our graduates won’t be accepted in the industry, this is not going to happen. Some of our students who did short courses have been absorbed and are now working with oil companies and service providers. All they needed was basic knowledge to be able to work in the industry. 

Others have used these certificates to upgrade their education in the UK. I have recommended about five or six who are admitted. You cannot be admitted in UK if they don’t value the programs you have studied locally. 

In terms of using it to work, these short certificate courses are basic. An introduction to how the market works. These students cannot be engineers of geologists. But what you should know is that Victoria University is in the right direction in acquiring all accreditation. 

Under this Kichwamba project, Coventry University has a City and Guilds Collage which will accredit the four courses in vocational skills. But we also have an understanding that the ministry of education will allow Victoria University to offer the same courses once they are accepted. 

Do you have a time frame to say between now and then Kichwamba should be able to offer these Coventry University accredited training programs? 

The project is a two and half year project. We are in the second phase of its implementation. We are making sure the labs in Kichwamba work well and that they have the right equipment. We want the international partners to come when the labs and equipment work well. That is where are are now.

We begin instruction (teaching) at Kichwamba this September. This means that by the time teaching is allowed, then all courses have been accredited. The first graduads for this program will come through mid half of 2019 - one year certificate, 70 percent practical.

We are talking about students who are going to build the pipeline. This is purely a government program. Coventry and Victoria University are implementing agencies. We have the capacity. We can fly in the facilitators and they teach our students.

We are in the development phase of the oil and gas industry, is there time for people to train and be able to get employed in the industry because infrastructure development which is supposed to employ the biggest number of Ugandans is already happening?   

Somehow, when you look at the timeline of the implementation of some of these projects you note that we will miss some and get some. Under the refinery project, you will hear government looking for the EPC company. 

When the EPC company is contracted, it takes another good period of time to ensure that this company is in place and functioning. Remember here you are producing graduates with HSE knowledge, graduates with the basics of the industry, they are already existing. 

What value does Coventry bring to this partnership? 

The facilities and facilitators and instructors of this program are administered by Victoria University. By virtual of that, we have the advantage of accessing high quality training material from Coventry University.

Coventry is a leading trainer of oil and gas accredited courses therefore by being partners with them it means we can also have courses accredited by them. If we have Coventry accreditation, the issue of certifying our courses here becomes much more easier. 

Since you are here at Victoria University coordinating oil and gas training, are we going to see a new degree or diploma course introduced to add to these that are already existing? 

My focus now is on these short courses to meet the training needs in the country but in the future, this is possible. The capacity to develop a training program is not hard. We had started a Bsc in Oil and Gas management, the draft is there. It is a matter of submitting it to National Council for Higher Education for consideration.

We are already offering certificate courses like Introduction To The Oil And Gas Industry Certificate, Certificate In Health, Safety And Environmental Management, Certificate In Oil And Gas Supply Chain And Logistics Management, Certificate In Oil And Gas Project Management and BSc in Oil and Gas Accounting.

 

INTERVIEW: Victoria University’s Pimer Peace Determined To Change Fortunes Of Girls In West Nile

The girl child in Uganda, like it is in many developing countries, is growing up in a world that is challenging than never before. The problems they are facing is insurmountable but that has not stopped Pimer Peace Monica, a student at Victoria University Kampala to dream big.

For Peace, a 24 year old student studying Procurement and Logistics management, every effort counts and through his Non Government Organization called Nile Girls Forum she has set out to sensitive and empower girls in West Nile, one of the most impoverished regions in the country.

In this interview Peace tells her story, which has so far seen her rub shoulders with some of the most influential women in Uganda and international dignitaries like the United States Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Ruth Malac and Stephanie Rivoal, the French Ambassador to Uganda.

Recently Peace and her Nile Girls Forum participated in the Women for Women Awards event hosted by the French Embassy.Please read her story as told by Peace herself in an email interview.

Please tell us about yourself – who are you?

My name is Pimer Peace Monica. I’m an Alur from Zombo district, Wes Nile sub –region in Northern Uganda. I am the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of Nile Girls Forum and an Ambassador of CHEZA in Northern Uganda.

Tell our readers the story of Nile Girls Forum?

Nile Girls Forum is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that is fully registered with the National Bureau of NGOs in Uganda. My colleagues, Ms. Unyuda Mariah Elsie, Mr.Asiku Francis, Ms. Letaru Freeda and Ms. Kadimala Grace met two years ago through Facebook; we had never met in real life. Since we had a common goal of transforming our community in westnile, the five of us decided to meet and have the organization fully registered.

What inspired you to start the Forum?

My mother was one of the greatest inspiration because she believed so much in me and supported me through my education. This motivated me to aim higher and encourage my community to value education.

Pimer Peace Monica

When I looked at the community, Zombo district where I come from, the girl child had very many challenges including high school dropout rates, teenage pregnancies, child marriage to mention but a few. I, therefore, took it upon myself to start an NGO that would transform and address everyday challenges of the girl child in entire West Nile sub- region.

What do you intend to achieve with the Forum?

We intend to have more girls acquiring formal education, equipping girls with hands on skills for example tailoring, creating more health awareness, sensitizing the community about child marriage.

What are your focal areas of focus as a person and NGO?

The areas of focus are girl child education, child marriage, teenage pregnancies, women health, gender based violence and youth empowerment.

How do you plan to manage time between reading books at Victoria University in Kampala and performing your role as a CEO of an ambitious NGOin West Nile?

I keep an updated schedule of my school work and office work. I set aside specific time throughout the week to focus on academics in order to balance the two. I do not procrastinate and prioritize my work, make time for myself and also get a good night’s sleep.

What change do you want to make in the world and how can we make this world a better place to live in?

I want to give the girls a voice but also teach them how to use it to make positive change in the world. We can make the world a better place by being our brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9).

Which specific issue regarding women’s rights is most important to you?

Girl child education is most important to me because education addresses so many things. Girls have a great potential to change the world. “Educate a girl, empower a nation”.

“Girls are the future mothers of any society. Every girl that receives an education is likely to make education a priority for her children. It is a ripple effect of positive change in the community and country”. C.E.O Dubai Cares.

From your experience working with young girls, what are the challenges that need to be addressed by the community, government and CSOs like Nile Girls Forum?

In addition to girl child education, gender based violence, to mention but a few; there are other issues that need to be addressed for example, menstrual hygiene, fistula,cervical cancer, fibroids and breast cancer.

What tools are you using to address these disparities in West Nile?

The most important tool we use is seminars at schools and local communities. In light of seminars, we also use radio talk shows on local radio stations in West Nile for example Voice of Life radio station and Paidha FM to sensitize our people.

Women’s health is a global issue which hasn’t been sufficiently addressed, what health concerns in West Nile is haunting women in your area of operation?

Fistula, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis are currently a threat to women’s health in West Nile.

Tell us about the state of child marriages and the impact it is having on the welfare of the communities?

According to the statistics of child marriage in Uganda, Northern Uganda has the highest prevalence rate of 59 % with West Nile sub-region at 50%. We should also keep in mind that child marriage cuts across for both girls and boys.

Peace is mobilizing the girl child in West Nile to give them a way to a better life

Child marriage affects all aspects of a child life and violates their rights, disrupts their education, exposes them to violence and abuse, exposes them to health risks and more often infants born to adolescent mothers have high risk of being born premature.

What are some of the achievements that you have been able to register as an organization run by young women and students?

We have been able to partner with a number of organizations such as CHEZA, Forum for Christian Empowerment, Keep Me In School, Arua Public Secondary School, Health Science Student Association Victoria University and Rotaract Club of Victoria University.

We have also been honored to have a number of outreaches in the community for example; Sanyu Babies Home in Kampala, Imvepi Refugee Settlement In Terego and keep Arua clean campaign in Arua town.

We were also honored to be part of the Women4Women awards that took place at the French Ambassador’s residence hosted by H.E the French ambassador to Uganda Stephanie Rivoal, an event that was organized by Ambassadors, heads of mission, directors and leaders.

We look forward to strengthening our partners with these organizations and more to come.

And what are the challenges you face running this organization?

As organization there are definitely a number of challenges we face ranging from insufficient facilitation for hard to reach areas, insufficient funds to support the girl child education and cultural norms whereby in some communities child marriage is legal.

How are men in the communities where you work responding to your activities – are they responding well or not?

There has been positive response from the men, especially the local community leaders; for example Mr. Marwothnga Ceasor, an LC1 official in Paidha has shown support towards Nile Girls Forum and is willing to work with us in order to successfully implement our program.

What is the role of youths towards the future development of the country like Uganda?

For Uganda to achieve sustainable development there must be a deliberate move that involves the youth at all levels and also acknowledges their ideas and potential.

INTERVIEW: I Want To Be A Better Woman – Miss Victoria University

Many young girls out there struggle to identify their purpose in life or fear to go for their dreams because they lack self belief or people with them don’t believe in them yet for Namuli Precious Priscilla being surrounded by good people at Victoria University Kampala was a turning point as she explains in this Interview with EARTHFINDS a few weeks after emerging as Miss Victoria University.

Congratulations for emerging winner of Miss Victoria University (VU) Kampala, please tell us about yourself – who are you?

My name is Namuli Precious Priscilla, a foundation student at Victoria University. I am a true Ugandan that loves and believes in God.

What do you like about Victoria University?

Victoria University is a place I could call a second home. It has all the suitable conditions that one needs to read, learn and excel. I got to meet people from different countries and I’m actually getting along pretty well, as I learn new languages too. All I can say is that it’s the place to be for a start to success.

What does it feel like being Miss Victoria University?

Oh! Well, I should say, I feel like a Queen already and this is such a good feeling because I know people are expecting a lot from me, which I’m ready to give as well.

What inspired you to join Miss Victoria University?

During my time in high school, I always told my friends that I wanted to become Miss Uganda and that one day they would see me among the contestants. I wasn’t really serious about it but I had it in mind.

My friends always said that I would need to go to the gym for like a year in order for me to contest and we always just ended up laughing it off. But when the pageant came up, students of the university told me to contest but I was scared, I had never done such a thing.

Though I liked things like that (pageants), I didn’t think I would see myself contest. Everyone around me saw the potential in me and I ended up in the contest. Now that I was already in, I knew there was no turning back, I had to make everyone that believed in me proud, so that pushed me to do all that I could.

What have you learned from Miss Victoria University competition?

I’ve learned not to undermine any single thought or dream in life because it could be your start off point to success. I’ve learned not to let anyone discourage me for as long as I have the potential to do something.

How is Miss Victoria University changing your life?

Being Miss Victoria University, I’m more like a leader now. I’ve always been the down to earth type of girl but now almost the whole country has read about me in the news papers. I’ve met different people now, people I didn’t ever think I’d meet in my life, so its such a big change in my life.

Is your family supportive of your decision to participate in a beauty pageant?

Oh yes! My parents are my biggest push in this. My dad always helps me out in case I have to talk to a group of people. He is not in the country but that’s how supportive he is.

My mum too, always around to make sure I look good and to ensure that people get the best and most out of me. My siblings as well, everyone in my family is really supportive about it.

As Miss Victoria University, What do you intend to achieve as a person and for the university?

I intend to better myself as a woman and as an individual, to take up any opportunity that comes my way because being Miss Victoria University has opened doors for me. I’m obviously the face of the University now and so I plan to take it to another level, encourage other vacists to join me.

How do you plan to manage time between reading books and performing your role as Miss Victoria University?

As they say, there’s always time for everything, if I’m needed in class for a lecture, I’ll always be there and I’ll also serve my duties as Miss Victoria.

What would be your priority objectives that you would want to achieve during your reign as Miss Victoria University?

My first priority would be to let the females in the university stand out and be able to speak up. I would also want to be able to forward students' problems, issues and concerns to the administrators for a better stay at the University.

 

Studying Entrepreneurship At VU Has Changed My Life – Student

Many times people realize the value of university education when they have come out of campus and have joined the employment world. However the case is different with Mbikamboli Idu Mikellides, a student at Victoria University Kampala.

In an exclusive interview Mikellides known to his peers as Mike reveals how studying a business course has shaped and changed his life. The second year student of business administration tells of how an entrepreneurship course unit taught him how to start a business.

Mike, a refugee from Bunia in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), would go on to implement what he had learnt in the lecture room to reality. He joined the business world when he opened up a supermarket at the border of Uganda and DRC.

“When I joined Victoria University, I didn’t have any business. I was not a businessman. In my life, I wanted to be a businessman, travel the world and be recognized all over the world, to be rich,” Mike narrates.

“So when I joined Victoria University, there is one course unit, entrepreneurship, which changed my life. It taught me how to start a business, how to take a risk, that is how I started my business.

I had an idea, in Uganda things are cheap and in DRC things are expensive. I said why can’t I buy things here and take them to DRC. Right now, I have twelve employees working for me, in my own company,” he explains how Victoria University shaped his business acumen.

Mike has since opened up a supermarket selling all sorts of things. “It is at the Uganda – DRC border. First thing in business, you need to locate a good place with demand to set your business. In Kampala we have so many supermarkets so I decided to go where there is none. The border area gave me an opportunity to start and grow easily,”

The student, who has secured land in DRC on which he wants to set up a cocoa plantation that will employ hundreds of people, says Victoria University ‘always tries to link you up with big people, to inspire you’, something which exposes students to opportunities.

But juggling business and studies is turning out to be a challenge. “Sometimes I have orders for the supermarket which I need to deliver. That means I have to leave school and go to kikuubo to do shopping, then send to the supermarket.

It can take me about two or three days. In the process, I am missing studies here at the university. But I try to balance my time. When I have an order or invoice to deliver, I call my suppliers, I only go to verify and send to the shop,”

He asked why he chose Victoria University among all universities in Uganda, Mike said: “I went to so many different universities. I tried to know deeply about them. I saw a big difference between Victoria University and other universities.

All are universities but there are specific things that drove me here. It is not only the building but their systems, their standards; Victoria University is different from other universities.”

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