By Raymond Baguma
The French ministry of foreign affairs and oil exploration company Total E&P has awarded scholarships to three Ugandan civil servants to pursue master’s degree studies in French universities.
The beneficiaries of the Quai d’Orsay/Enterprises program include Kato Magembe from the ministry of lands, Immaculate Namuleme from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), and Geoffrey Gokaka from the ministry of water and environment.
The three were announced during an event at the French ambassador’s residence in Nakasero on Tuesday. The trio leaves next month and will pursue various master’s degree studies in urban and regional planning, risk engineering, and environmental management in French universities.
Sophie Makame, the French ambassador to Uganda said the embassy would cater for the visa and residence permits, and an eight-week French language course and an additional one month language course in France. Total will cover the students’ academic fees and living expenses.
Francois Vatier, the Total Business and Development Director said the Quai d’Orsay scholarship aims to build Uganda’s human capital since the company began operations in 2012.
He said the awards are part of other education projects that include an international scholarships program that target students who wish to pursue master’s degree programs in oil and gas related fields and 9 students have benefited.
Also, Total sponsors 40 top performing O’ level science students from Nwoya, Buliisa, Nebbi and Masindi districts where the company is running oil exploration activities. The students are supported to pursue A ‘level studies in top schools.
Each year, three civil servants from targeted ministries that directly interact with the oil and gas sector are selected for master’s studies and so far, six Ugandan civil servants have benefited.
“This program is part of our willingness and commitment to train civil servants with the aim of empowering the beneficiaries and line ministries with knowledge in the oil and gas domains through international masters’ degree programs,” said Vatier.
The minister for tourism Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu who represented Government, hailed oil company Total, for respecting Uganda’s local content strategy as well as being a major player in the country’s economic transformation.