NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Kenya’s oil, gas and mineral deposits are being increasingly exploited, but a failure to implement laws and ensure local communities know their rights has meant the most marginalized are not benefiting, lawyers and academics said on Thursday.
The East African nation has proven deposits of titanium, gold and coal and also holds significant copper, niobium and manganese deposits, as well as oil and gas reserves.
But despite these commodities often being located in remote regions where the country’s poorest live, few have reaped the rewards from mining, said experts at an event hosted by the legal think-tank the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).
“The discovery of oil and gas and other natural resources in Kenya was received with enthusiasm and optimism of a great future, not only for the country, but also for the communities,” said lawyer Robert Mochache and ICJ council member.
“However several years since the discoveries, resource extraction has concentrated wealth and power in the hands of a few, aggregating corruption and adverse inequalities, leading to massive environmental degradation and pollution.”