Improving access to information in Kenya's extractives sector - Extractives Baraza

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.

Access to information and good governance are closely linked to sustainable growth and development of the extractives sector.

In Kenya, access to information is a fundamental human right recognized in the 2010 Kenyan Constitution pursuant to Article 35 and expanded upon in the Access to Information Act, 2016.

The Act fulfils a threefold purpose:

  1. It makes mandatory the disclosure of information by public entities such as those that are in the extractives sector;
  2. It creates a framework to facilitate access to information held by private entities in compliance with any right protected by the Constitution and any other law; and
  3. It promotes routine and systematic information disclosure by public service and private entities on constitutional principles relating to accountability, transparency and public participation.

With these three aspects, Kenya now closes a historic transparency gap in this area, by establishing a set of standards comparable to those of advanced democracies, under which citizens have access to a wide range of public information pivotal to the country’s socio-economic development.

This policy brief serves as a summary of the research outcomes of the Strathmore Extractives Industry Centre (SEIC) Information Needs Assessment of Kenya’s extractives industry and 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 has 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.

Date:
13th March 2017
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