A two day consultative forum that has attracted leading experts from government, academia, civil society and the industry at large has kicked off at the Hekima Institute if Peace Studies and International Relations campus to explore ways of bridging the gaps in the extractive sector.
The forum that is organized by the Africa Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG) in partnership with the Kenya Civil Platform for Oil and Gas (KCPOG)also seeks to promote good governance, accountability and transparency in the extractive sector.
Speaking during the opening AfriCOG executive director Gladwell Otieno noted that despite the quick pace that the development the sector has experienced especially in oil and gas the legal and policy part continues to lag behind.
“We do hope that through such forums we can enrich the laws and policy being formulated even as we do hope that the pace formulation of this laws can match the development of the sector,” said Gladwell.
Gladwell also emphasized on the need for strong safeguards that could inhibit corruption and inequalities as well as lead conflict through promoting transparency.
Also speaking the same forum Canadian Ambassador David Angell called on the better management of earning from the sector to ensure that the benefits are felt broadly.
Angell added that there is a need for issues such as accountability and socio-economic challenges to be addressed promptly.
“For any positive legislation the benefits must be threefold to the host government the local community and the exploration companies. The legislation must also that the industry has transparency, is predicable and corresponds to international best practices,” Angell commented.
He noted that the Canadian government had put in place measures that will now see Canadian companies both public and private report payments of over $100,000 to governments as a away to increase transparency and reduce corruption.
Senior Geologist James Ng’ang’a who was representing the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum noted that there had been development in the oil and gas field in the past two years both through the pace of exploration as well as the development of legal framework which is currently before the cabinet.
He added that the government has an early monetization strategy that will ensure that benefits of the crude oil discovered in north western Kenya through the building of the East African crude pipeline.
Already the feasibility study by Toyota Tshusho has been completed with the final report expected by the end of this week.
“We are also in the process of creating a petroleum master plan and I expect more details to be revealed this week,” said Ng’ang’a.
Over the next two days issues expected to be discussed include:
- Creating an enabling environment using international and regional frameworks, legislation and standards
- Creating an enabling environment using national frameworks, policies and legislation and Creating
- Creating an en enabling environment through legislation , frameworks and policies: perspectives from the private sector
- Using different community approaches to create an enabling environment
- Next steps and agreeing on the road map on Kenya Extractive Industry Sector
The organizers hope they can increase awareness and bolster knowledge among sector stake holders, expose participants on international and regional frameworks and share experiences on different community approaches.
Ultimately it is hoped that there can be improved synergies among the sector stakeholders.