Policy Brief

Extractives and energy transition in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) raises a number of dilemmas and opportunities that are worth noting. While there have been efforts in achieving the desired transition towards a low carbon economy, the region has put immense efforts towards exploration and development of fossil fuels. The new discoveries of oil deposits in Kenya and Uganda and gas in Tanzania have pivoted the region into emerging oil countries that are keen on harnessing this nascent sector. Locally, the situation has led to heightened expectations on the job and business opportunities that the sector presents. This however does not negate the actual and potential impact in terms of job and business opportunities that the renewable sector presents.

Kenya is adjusting to the reality of hosting upstream petroleum operations, which are specialized and technically complex. While the sector presents important opportunities for economic development, substantial health, safety, and environmental (HSE) risks are bound to arise in all the phases. Recognizing and controlling such risks is critical to preventing fatalities and damage to the
environment. Thus, a strong HSE regulatory regime, aligned with prevailing international standards and best industry practice, is necessary to protect lives and the natural environment.

This Policy Brief identifies key constraints that face SMEs, with possible policy considerations that can help strengthen their engagement in the fast-transitioning and time-bound oil and gas sector. The Brief draws on existing research and highlights from the High-Level Policy Dialogue held on 21st June 2019 at Strathmore University as part of the East Africa SME Training in Oil and Gas.

This Policy Brief collates evidence on specific gaps that hinder SME participation in the fast-transitioning oil and gas sector in Uganda. The Brief highlights policy considerations that can help bridge those gaps and scale up SME businesses to regional and global value chains. The brief mainly draws on existing research to inform policy dialogue on how Uganda ought to strengthen private sector engagement in the oil and gas sector.

This policy brief serves as a summary of the research outcomes of the Kenya Information Needs Assessment In extractives Sector. The policy brief emphasizes the relationship between the implementation of the right to access information and the accountability of project implementers including extractive companies and government bodies. The research conducted at a national level particularly demonstrated the urgent need to strengthen implementation mechanisms of the Access to Information Act, 2016 to ensure adequate citizen access to public information at all levels and thereby advance good governance and transparency.