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How Kenya can avoid oil curse

By The Standard | August 18th 2016

This time next year, Kenya will have earned the first few shillings from exporting crude oil extracted from the oil fields in Turkana, where there an estimated 600 million barrels of oil.

Nothing speaks of the urgent need to exploit this oil, either for export or domestic consumption, than the choice to truck the nearly 3,000 barrels because the country cannot wait for a pipeline to deliver it to the refinery in Mombasa.

For the local community who are only starting to experience modernity in the initial steps of crude oil extraction, the anticipation is even more palpable. It is therefore absolutely critical that the State handles expectations delicately while managing the oil in the most prudent manner to benefit all stakeholders.

Experiences in other countries offer examples where greed for resources has led to destitution, death and destruction. This is usually caused by theft, mismanagement and the apparent exclusion of local communities. Kenya can and must avoid the long-drawn-out conflict that characterised the Niger Delta in Nigeria, where an important national resource was left to the selfish whims of politicians.

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