As mayor of Addis Ababa during 2003 - 2005, Dr Oqubay was credited with the transformation of the city. In recognition of this, he was awarded ‘The Best African Mayor of 2005’ by The African Broadcast Network (ABN), and was a finalist for the World Mayor of 2005 award. Dr Oqubay serves as chair of the board for many leading public organisations in Ethiopia, including the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC), Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC), and vice-chair of the board of Ethiopian Airlines (EAL). He is the coordinator of the National Export Coordinating Committee (NECC), and is a member of the Ethiopian Investment Board (EIB), which are both chaired by the Ethiopian prime minister. Dr Oqubay is the founding Chancellor of the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU).
Dr Oqubay has been a member of the core leadership of Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the movement that spearheaded the seventeen-year popular liberation struggle. During the liberation movement, Dr Oqubay was a member of the executive council responsible for socio-economic affairs of the liberation army and liberated areas.
He holds a PhD in development studies from SOAS, University of London. In addition to this, he is a research associate at the Centre of African Studies in the University of London where he conducts research projects on industrialisation, political economy of infrastructure and development of technological capabilities and economic leadership.
He recently authored Made in Africa: Industrial Policy in Ethiopia, published by Oxford University Press (2015). In an interview with African Business Magazine, Dr Oqubay noted that the “genesis of this book was following the Ethiopian government adoption of new policies, in some ways different from the paths taken by many African countries. For instance, after 2002, the government adopted comprehensive policies and strategies which resulted in astonishing economic growth for 11 years, sustaining an average 11% annually, driven by the growth of production in various sectors."
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