Rural communities in Kenya risk losing out on billions in royalties even as the country prepares to draw the first revenue from oil.
A new report from Transparency International has found that communities living in areas with mineral resources are overlooked in the process of issuing mining approvals.
This has largely been attributed to corruption at various stages of the lengthy and bureaucratic process, with mining approvals often issued without the knowledge or input of communities owning the land.
“Six different community groups in Kitui, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties asserted that those chosen to represent them, including as representatives on formal community land committees, end up being compromised through bribery, gifts or being offered jobs,” reads the report in part. Aside from the loss of revenue, communities risk damaging their environmental resources owing to poor mining practices as regulators lack the capacity to verify the contents of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs).
“Effective verification of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) is needed to guard against the risk that licence applicants will knowingly provide incorrect information about the potential impacts of their projects,” reads the report in part.
The report comes less than two months after the State signed a deal with a consortium to embark on phase one of developing Kenya’s first oil pipeline.