The East African energy frontier, a decade on

The East African energy frontier, a decade on

The East Africa region has seen some of the decade’ s largest natural gas and energy finds. However, despite their magnitude, these discoveries have yet to fulfil the promise of social and economic progress. With some signs of the negative impact of resource wealth already in evidence, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique all require changes to their natural resources policies to ensure that revenues are shared and invested in the future. Underpinning this is the need for governments to improve transparency, allowing local institutions to hold the government and other stakeholders accountable. Without such steps, the full potential of these finds is set to go unrealised.
 
The past decade’s energy finds created great promise for Eastern Africa. Yet questions remain about whether these finds will be a burden or blessing. With the downturn in global energy markets and production dates being repeatedly postponed, any potential benefits are subject to the uncertainties and political volatilities that have come to characterise the region. However, it is not too late for these countries to use their assets wisely. A real commitment to accountability and the channelling of revenues towards development objectives is needed, as well as the necessary freedoms for local institutions to monitor the sector and hold government and other stakeholders to account. Now, while prices are low, is a good opportunity for states to get their institutional houses in order. With the effective infrastructure in place, as well as co-operation between states and profits being invested in their future, these finds can in time contribute to the development of the region.
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