Reflecting on the Kenya Extractives Programme (K-EXPRO)
The Kenya Extractives Programme (K-EXPRO) is a DFID-funded project that aims to prepare local businesses and communities for the challenges and opportunities in the oil and gas sector with a view to ensuring the extractive sector is a benefit and not a curse to Kenya. It was a two year project that began in November 2016 and came to an end in October 2018 due to reduced scope and budget following the DFID Portfolio Quality Review in early 2017.
The discovery of potentially commercial but small volumes of petroleum resources in Turkana County (northern Kenya) raised prospects that a range of social and economic benefits could soon come to this marginalised and impoverished part of Kenya. The idea of extractives-led development captured the imagination of many policymakers in host countries with a focus to trying to ensure these investments increase demand for locally produced goods and services, and that the extraction of oil, gas, and mining resources will bring development to far-flung and often neglected places.
What K-EXPRO aimed to achieve in response
The project supported an improved business environment, community engagement, and a localised and inclusive approach to human resources and local service provision in the extractives sector in Kenya. K-EXPRO also worked to strengthen the contribution of the nascent oil and gas sectors to inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
The approach taken
It is in the void of neglected policy and poor practice where K-EXPRO provided timely support to local interventions with an explicit focus on sector issues more likely to unite local stakeholders - communities, industry, and national and county government. Due to the very short timeframe and complex political economy of extractives in Kenya, the approach was to focus on relatively high-risk but high-impact ‘home-grown’ opportunities. In short, projects that had the highest chance of providing sustainable developmental blueprints for Kenya’s extractives sector and Turkana in particular.
Some key results that derived from the project was the development and piloting of two innovative approaches to local enterprise development in Turkana. One being the Lundin’ Foundation's Turkana Catalyst Initiative of innovative business accelerator and seed-financing program for SMEs and the second being extending the reach of Invest in Africa’s existing procurement platform to Turkana. and the development of a mobile financing app (the 'Credit Guarantee Scheme').
The project also resulted to a range of stakeholder engagement and consultative structures at the national, county and local level, leading to the institutionalisation of a range of mechanisms at all three tiers of governance. K-EXPRO supported projects championing constructive stakeholder engagement, contributing to mutual understanding, collaboration, and consensus building – all essential elements of accountability and conflict prevention.
Projections for the future
Excellent progress was made in backing innovative and scalable models that assured future funding for our partners. Most of the K-EXPRO funded interventions will continue despite the project closure. On average, our partners have doubled the funding provided via K-EXPRO.