The story of oil discoveries in Africa is actually starting to sound the same now. At first it starts off as a fairytale were we are all excited, with analysts telling us just how much the discoveries will mean for the countries economies and its people. A couple of months after the discoveries however, when major multinational oil companies come in and strike secret deals with government’s suddenly we are not so sure who is going to benefit from the black gold.
Kenya seems to be no different. New reports are emerging that the country risks oil conflicts in the near future if the wealth created from the oil discoveries is not shared with the country’s communities.
Kenya first announces it oil discovery by British based explorer Tullow oil in March of this year but has been exploring for quite a while. The resource was discovered in the Turkana County bordering South Sudan, Ethopia and Uganda.
Community leaders in that area are already showing concerns of being sidelined from this wealth as they have been for years. 60 percent of the population in the country are pastorilists depending on livestock to survive, but successive droughts has made it hard to maintain a sustainable living, with millions of people having to depend on food aid.
Another risk that analysts say Kenya faces is neglecting developing its other markets and having its economy depend totally on oil. The oil curse is what fuels massive corruption and conflict as players fight for their own share of riches.
They suggest that for Kenya and other new oil producing countries to avoid this trap, oil revenues should go into sectors such as infrastructure and education. (like durr moment)
Also instead of using a foreign workforce the government should work on equipping its own people with skills in the sector so that jobs are created for people in the communities.
But then again if you take a look at communities like these, there is not much they can do to stand up for themselves if they are sidelined by their government and multi nationals oil companie, and once the oil starts pumping I doubt people outside the community will care about the exclusion anyway.