By: LUCY GITHAIGA
Kenya’s extractive sector has traditionally contributed marginally to the country’s economy, accounting for just about one per cent of the GDP and three per cent of total export earnings.
The discovery of oil and other mineral resources has forced a rethink of the sector’s ability to be a key driver of growth and development.
The government has included oil, gas, and other minerals as the seventh priority sector under the economic pillar of Vision 2030 as an area with a high potential of spurring growth.
Indeed, experience in countries such as Norway, Botswana, Canada, and Ghana suggest that extractives can be effectively managed to contribute to sustainable growth.
A converse narrative is poor management of these resources with the inevitable consequence of economic instability, social conflict, and environmental damage.
OIL RESOURCE CURSE
Experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic suggest that poor management of extractives often leads to conflict and the famous phenomenon of resource curse.
Africa’s mineral wealth has not benefited its people because of corruption, capital flight, and tax evasion.
The African story in extractives is often one of concern.
In acknowledging and appreciating these concerns, African heads of State adopted the African Mining Vision in February 2009 as a key continental framework to promote mineral resource-based development and transformation.
THE AFRICAN MINING VISION
The African Mining Vision seeks to foster transparent, equitable, and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based growth and social-economic development.
The African Mining Vision is a useful framework that would support the development of a mining sector that is transparent, promotes equitable development, and provides for optimal exploitation of mineral resources.
The Ministry of Mining has been keen on bringing together different stakeholders from government ministries, civil society, and the private sector to reflect on how to develop a country mining vision.
Part of these efforts include the development of a mining policy and a mining Bill to replace the mining ordinance of 1946.
Developing a country mining vision is a big step towards ensuring that Kenya’s mineral wealth benefits not just a few people but contributes to the country’s growth.
It is important that Kenyans participate effectively in developing this vision. Civil society and communities must be involved.
They must understand what the African Mining Vision holds and the processes involved in developing a country mining vision.
They must also understand they have a role to play in monitoring implementation of the vision.
The first-ever national dialogue on the country mining vision took place between November 18 and 19 in Nairobi.
It was the first step towards equipping civil society and Kenyans from mining communities with the necessary knowledge to allow them to participate effectively in the development of the country mining vision.
The meeting communicated the strategies that the Ministry of Mining should employ to ensure stakeholder consultation and engagement in developing a country mining vision.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION