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Denis Kakembo’s impact in East Africa’s energy sector

Denis Kakembo Profile PictureIn response to a widely published call by the  British Council in Uganda, Denis applied for a post graduate scholarship in January 2013 under the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme and was announced a winner in August 2013 alongside other colleagues following a rigorous selection process that lasted over six months.

 Denis was working with Deloitte East Africa serving a portfolio of clients in the energy sector (extractive and power) at the time of applying for this scholarship. Keen to play a role in ensuring that the East African (EA) region optimises the potential benefits that energy sector presented and mindful of the need for a conducive environment to attract private investment to realise this aspiration, Denis sought deeper energy sector expertise as a means of serving better players both in the private and public domain. He therefore undertook a Master of Laws Degree course in Petroleum Taxation and Finance at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) at the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom.

The course gave him a thorough understanding of the tax, economic, legal, financial and policy considerations that underpin the energy sector. Graduating with distinction in November 2014, Denis returned home to his pre-scholarship employer Deloitte East Africa.

November 2017 will mark the third year since Denis graduated and returned to East Africa and the exploits of this East African shaper are worth sharing.

Currently based in the Deloitte Kenya office in Nairobi on secondment from Deloitte Uganda, Denis has carved out a niche as a very well-informed professional in the energy sector tax, fiscal, legal and financing issues. In his role supporting the various offices of Deloitte East Africa, Denis has had the chance to serve most of region’s leading extractive and power companies and their subcontractors in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Denis has also distinguished himself as a passionate advocate for a conducive fiscal and tax environment that balances the interests of both the governments and the private sector as a means of attracting sustainable investment in the region. Several of his writings are centred on his pet subject of taxation and attracting foreign direct investment. He regularly interacts with senior government officials as well as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund among others in the pursuit of a most favourable environment for investment in the region.

Denis is a regular commentator in the local, regional and international media regarding the taxation of the energy sector in East Africa. He is widely published on several matters pertaining East Africa’s energy sector. He is a regular speaker at local, regional and international energy conferences. He is also occasionally sought out by some of the region’s leading academic institutions as a facilitator in trainings aimed at building the capacity of senior executives and government officials involved in the energy sector.

Denis’ impact in East Africa’s energy sector has been greater as a result of his master’s education.

Denis’ career within Deloitte East Africa has also been fast-tracked as a result of his master’s education. He is presently a Senior Manager but also tapped to serve as the Chief of Staff for the Energy and Resources Industry Team in Deloitte East Africa.  As the Chief of Staff, Denis deputise Deloitte East Africa’s Energy and Resources Industry Leader and assist him in propagating the industry strategy within the firm.

According to Denis, he is very grateful to Tullow Oil for the life changing opportunity in the form of a Post Graduate Scholarship that was extended to him. His life has been tremendously transformed. Denis is a strong believer in the world of possibilities! He believes nothing is impossible to achieve with hard work, patience, passion, discipline and humility. Denis’ humble background was no limitation in the pursuit of his dreams.

Here is a word of advice from Denis, “I urge the young people out there not to be deterred or discouraged in the pursuit of their dreams. Hardwork, persistence, passion ,discipline and humility will take you places. You will be amazed by the so many people you will meet ready to go out of their way to help you fulfil your goals as Tullow Oil and British Council has done to some of us. Though Tullow Oil sought out young professionals passionate to contribute to the development of their countries, I am proud that the tentacles of my service have spread beyond my motherland Uganda extending to Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. I look forward to spending more time serving my community as a means of acknowledging the great support I have received from several organisations such as Tullow Oil and British Council and individuals in supporting my education and professional growth.”