There is something very powerful about the Swahili words ‘Haki Madini’ that translate to ‘Minerals for Peace’, and according to Kenyan economist Paul Mirie, Kenya’s new mining partnership model is ensuring that the country's mineral wealth contributes to its wealth in a peaceful and sustainable way.
A training program delivered jointly by Australia and Africa is instrumental in creating fundamental change whereby the government, civil society and the private sector are collaborating to build strong leadership for the mining industry in Kenya.
The Emerging Leaders in African Mining (ELAM) Program 2016 provided an opportunity for professionals from 15 African countries working in the mining sector to build on effectiveness as leaders and contribute to improved governance.
Two Kenyan leaders that have been proactive since the course (delivered by The Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA), the African Minerals Development Centre and the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme) are Paul Mirie who was then an economist attached to Kenya’s Minister for Mining and Lucy Githaiga who leads Kenyan mining and advocacy groups.
Both advocate for the African Mining Vision which seeks to foster transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based growth and social-economic development.
“The African Mining Vision is a useful framework that was adopted in 2009 and part of these efforts include the development of a mining policy and a mining bill to replace the mining ordinance of 1946,” Ms Githaiga said.
“The first ever national dialogue on the country mining vision took place in Nairobi last year and this was the first step towards equipping civil society and Kenyans from mining communities with the necessary knowledge allowing them to participate effectively in the development of the country mining vision.
“This meeting communicated strategies that the Ministry of Mining should use to ensure stakeholder consultation and engagement in developing a country mining vision,” she said.
Recently The Kenyan Ministry of Mining has been committed to bringing different stakeholders together to implement the African Mining Vision.
Mr Mirie said that one important outcome of ELAM was that the government and civil society were connected and willing to engage in order to break down previous barriers.
“Together Lucy and I expanded the partnership and reciprocated involvement which was a crucial turning point for us and now we are all speaking the same language.
“We have created a friendship that will help our industry to prosper. Since completing ELAM we have been able to influence our seniors and I see a better managed mining sector in Africa. I was especially impressed that ELAM course deliverers followed up with how we were applying new knowledge to our communities.
“We have the capacity to influence real change in Africa and this will cascade down to our people,” Mr Mirie said.
To date, Kenya’s resources sector has contributed marginally to the country’s economy, accounting for about one per cent of the GDP and three per cent of total export earnings but the discovery of oil and other mineral resources has forced a resurgence of the sector to drive growth and future development.