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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Oil discovery to boost development in Kenya’s remote areas: expert

By Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The discovery of oil and gas in remote parts of Kenya has provided an opportunity to reverse years of underdevelopment, an expert said on Tuesday.

Mwenda Makathimo, the Executive Director of Land Development and Governance Institute (LDGI), a Kenya-based think tank, said the sub sector is now capable of contributing to the country’s development.

“If well done, oil and gas exploration initiatives have the capacity to benefit the investing corporations and local communities tremendously,” Makathimo said while releasing a report on social investments in the extractive sector in Kenya.

Kenya’s economy has previously been characterized by investments in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and service industries while the extractive industry has been contributing less than 1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

But over the last five years the sector has recorded major growth after oil was discovered in 2012 in Turkana.

“There is need to factor specifics on community development agreements into the legislative framework for oil exploration and production to have a long-term positive impact on local communities,” Makathimo said.

He noted that the Petroleum Act of 1984 and the Petroleum Bill of 2015 fail to adequately give provisions to guide community development.

Makathimo said the extractive industry has a potential to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by mobilizing resources and creating employment and development.

The report that was done in July called for the harmonization of community development initiatives by stakeholders working in the areas to avoid duplication.

Since 2012, the country has seen discoveries of more oil wells and entry of additional oil explorers.

Currently, there are expectations from both national and county governments and communities who see the development as an investment opportunity.

             

 

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