Exploring the Terrain
Human Rights in Kenya's and Tanzania's Extractives Sector
Today the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) released a pair of reports assessing the human rights and environmental impacts associated with Kenya’s and Tanzania's increasing extractive sector activities.
Kenya is a resource rich developing democracy. In 2012, large oil reserves estimated to be worth USD 62.4 billion were discovered, in addition to the country's already valuable mineral resources. It also has a new and progressive Constitution that provides protections to many of the human rights impacted by extractive operations.
There is nonetheless a deep concern that the immediate incentives of politics, commercial cycles and current economic circumstances in Kenya might play forcefully against the significant time, resources and effort needed to address the structural challenges of creating a supportive enabling environment for responsible business in the extractives sector. The country is actively revising its relevant policy and legal framework, but impacts already experienced by communities and workers on the ground indicate that those changes cannot come too soon. The profound devolution of administrative authorities to the 47 newly created counties creates tremendous risks alongside opportunities for extractive governance closer to communities.
Tanzania is Africa’s fourth biggest gold producer and also has a wide range of other mineral resources. There is potential for Tanzania’s diversified mining sector to contribute as much as US$2.5 billion in fiscal revenues in the coming years. In addition, the past few years have seen significant increases in exploration for oil and gas along the coast. Together, exploitation of these resources has the potential to significantly change Tanzania’s growth trajectory.
And while Tanzania has shown leadership as one of the early African countries to join the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative, and is in the process of reforming its extractive sector policy framework, it does not have the same constitutional protections in place that are important underpinnings for the development of the sector. Recent discoveries have increased expectations among citizens over potential revenues, but the benefits of the resource-induced growth are not widely shared.
About the Research
These Reports are the product of desk-based and on-the-ground interviews to assess the existing human rights and environmental impacts associated with Kenya and Tanzania’s increasing extractive sector activities.
Recognising that policy and legal frameworks play an important role in setting conditions to reinforce the corporate responsibility to respect human rights in the extractive sector, the Reports include in-depth analysis of the policy and legal framework in each country from a human rights perspective. Where these frameworks leave gaps or contradict international human rights standards, they present a challenge to a level playing field among companies, as the gaps can be filled by good – and bad – practices.
This can result in significant adverse impacts for local communities and workers, as the field research highlights. The field-based, on-the-ground interviews provide perspectives from local communities, businesses and local governments on challenges and the impacts across a range of human rights.
Find Out More
All stakeholders in Tanzania’s and Kenya's extractives sector – the Governments, oil, gas, mining companies, investors, home governments, and civil society organisations – are encouraged to explore the terrain of human rights.
Each Report serves as a tool to better understand the gaps that exist and provide stakeholder-specific recommendations to effectively prioritise and advocate to close these gaps, providing a solid basis for the further expansion of each country's extractive sector in line with sustainable development.
Institute for Human Rights and Business is the trading name of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). Registered office address: 19c Commercial Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 3XE, UK. | UK Company Number: 06882940 | UK Charity Registration Number: 1131790.