Mineral resources are important national resources that can enhance national socio-economic development if well managed. Historically, Kenya has not been a majorplayer in the extractive sector, with the industry only contributing 1% to the country’sgross domestic product and less than 3% of total export earnings. However, with the discovery
and exploitation of minerals such as titanium in Kwale County and oil in Turkana, Kenya isaiming to become a major player in the extractive industry. Questions abound though as to how the exploitation of these minerals is to benefit local populations in the areas where the extractive activities are taking place. Experience from other jurisdictions that have mineral deposits show that the impact of exploitation of mineral resources on the socio-economic development of a people depends on the governance structure that has been put in place to sustainably manage the
resources for the benefit of the people. A proper management of mineral resources, termed the “Norwegian Model”, generates shared prosperity for all the mining stakeholders, with equitable sharing of the benefits and burdens of mineral resource exploitation. On the other hand, poor management of mineral resources, termed the “Nigerian Model”, generates the dreaded “resource curse”, leading to conflict and underdevelopment for the majority of the mineral resource shareholders, especially the mining host communities.
Kenya is currently in the process of developing a legal framework for the management of the extractive sector, with the governance of the sector bound to determine whether mineral resource exploitation leads to general prosperity or generates the resource curse. The Constitution has created an elaborate framework for the management of natural resources, mineral resources included. It demands that these resources are managed sustainably for the benefit of the Kenyan people. It demands equity in the sharing of benefits from the exploitation of natural resources with
all the stakeholders, especially the mining host communities. Further, it calls on those charged with the responsibility of managing these resources to do so in a transparent and accountable manner, with the full, active and informed participation of all the stakeholders.
The full report can be read here.