Meet Salma Okonkwo, the Black Woman dominating West Africa’s oil and gas industry

The Board Chairperson of Puma Energy, Mrs Salma Okonkwo, has been honored for her outstanding contribution to the country’s energy sector.

Mrs. Okonkwo was honored alongside 23 other women who had contributed in various ways to the development of the country at the fifth Ghana Women of Excellence Awards, held in Accra recently.

The honor is the second in three months after she was adjudged the Female Energy Personality of the Year for her outstanding performance in Ghana’s energy sector.


Honored at the Ghana Energy Awards in 2019, Mrs Okonkwo is a professional who has defied all odds to succeed in the male-dominated industry; the oil sector.

At her latest award by the Ghana Women of Excellence Awards, the citation presented to her read: “Salma Okonkwo is one of the most highly respected business executives in West Africa’s oil and gas sector”.

After earning a license in 2008 to operate as an official oil marketing company, Mrs Okonkwo expanded her holdings and created the UBI Group, an integrated energy solution provider with five subsidiaries. In 2014, Salma sold 49 per cent of the UBI Group to Puma Energy which provides the company, technical and operational infrastructure.

In 2016, UBI Petroleum became Puma Energy Ghana. She remains the Chairman of both Puma Energy Ghana and the UBI Group of Companies,” the citation added, among other things.

Shortly after receiving the honor, she said, “who would have thought, me a former tomboy, often scolded for one mischief or another, would be nominated by my peers as a woman of excellence? Truly, we serve a miracle working God.”

She said she was an advocate for women being able to pursue their dreams and ambition, adding that in today’s world where the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurs were women on the continent of Africa, it was only right that they created what was needed to achieve success.


Mrs Okonkwo said she was working with young women to bridge the gap to resources and alternative capital to help them forge ahead and take their rightful positions in the market place.

"As women adorned with the title of women of excellence, it is our duty to unite and pave the way for Ghanaian women to become empowered to successfully function in the national development of our beautiful country. We must motivate, encourage and provide a roadmap for navigating,” she said.

A leader in energy development, Mrs Okonkwo is one of the most highly respected business executives in West Africa’s oil and gas sector.

She is also the co-founder and board member of Blue Star Exploration and sits on the Board of Directors of Makmera Upstream, an upstream exploration company and Nahid’s Properties, a real estate development company.

She is currently developing plans for a massive solar farm in the country and has received a mandate from the government to distribute that energy when ready, through the national grid.

She is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist who believes in excellence, hard work, the potential of Africa and aims to be a driver of prosperity in Ghana.


Photo Credit: UBI GROUP, Salma

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