Oil resources in turkana
Kenya being the most recent country in the Sub-Saharan region to discover oil has joined the big debate on whether the natural resources discovered in the region will actually benefit its people given that majority of its people are blighted by poverty.
Most countries in the region despite possessing vast riches in terms of gold, oil, coal and untouched forests among other resources have continued to suffer in the hands of dubious explorers and miners who negate the law in their favor.
Discovery of these natural resources in the region has been characterized by mixed blessings for developing countries such as Congo (DRC), Sudan and Nigeria with only a clique of people gaining most from the huge revenues accrued while the majority resort to war to scramble for the left over.
However, with Kenya being the new kid in the oil block, there are numerous past lessons to learn from in order to effectively manage the wealth to spur growth, boost jobs and revenues and also raise living standards in the country.
Some of the things that Kenya can do is to review tax policies and strengthen revenue administration which are vital objectives for natural resource producers.
By doing this, the country will have filled the loopholes existing in the law governing mining that have seen most mineral rich countries suffer huge loses through acts such as capital flight, tax evasion, unnecessary incentives and worst of all environmental degradation.
Although Kenya is far from realizing real profit from the oil discovered in Turkana, there is need to strengthen the management of natural resource wealth in the country to promote more rapid, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth.
Transparency and integrity are also critical especially in a country like Kenya where corruption and inequality is deep rooted. This is critical for ensuring that all stakeholders who include investors, governments, and public and market players feel that they get a fair share.
The discovery of commercial oil will solve the debacle arising from imported inflation given that Kenya is a country that imports more than it exports.
With recent reports indicating that in almost half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, non-renewable natural resources account for over 25 percent of total exports, Kenyans are bound to reap more from this priceless gift.