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Kenya pledges transparency in mineral exploitation

IANS 07 Nov 2014, 8:55:17 AM IST

Nairobi: Kenya has promised to ensure transparency and accountability in mineral exploitation to avert a situation where some investors benefit at others' expense.

Deputy President William Ruto said the government was committed to the development of the mining sector which has attracted both local and international investors, Xinhua reported Thursday.

Ruto told Geo-East Africa Conference and Expo (GEOEACE 2014) in Nairobi that 22.4 million dollars has been set aside as wider strategy to increase economic growth through exploitation of resources to help the country achieve the goals set out in Vision 2030.

"There should be accountability and transparency framework to ensure nobody benefits unfairly over others in exploration and exploitation of mineral resources," he said.

Kenya has in the recent past discovered several precious minerals, including rare earths and oil, making the previously inactive mining sector to be identified as one of the economic drivers when production of that resource starts.

Ruto, however, said the government will give priority to local investors in all development projects in the country, adding that the interest of Kenyans must be protected in the exploitation of natural resources so long as they have the capacity and knowledge to carry out such investments.

"We are obligated by the constitution to give first chance of investments to Kenyans and to others thereafter, so long as they have the knowledge and capacity to carry out exploration and exploitation of our natural resources," he said.

The East African nation has given priority to the review of laws and regulations in the mining industry in order to ensure the sector contributes effectively to the economic growth.

Ruto said Parliament has approved Mining Bill to help guide the exploitation of minerals in the country following the discovering of mineral resources in the East African nation.