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Kenya Extractives Programme (K-EXPRO)

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Maja Jakobsen

KEXPRO Allan Duncan Ashira Perera Caroline Thuo Jo Robinson Lilli Loveday Maja Jakobsen Mark Beare Mark Essex Lilli Loveday A0648 Kenya kexpro

K-EXPRO’s broad aim was to prepare the ground for Kenya’s nascent extractives sectors to make a greater contribution to inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. Oil and devolution have already stimulated socio-economic changes in northern Kenya, but for oil to have a positive impact it requires a more socially and environmentally sustainable approach in policy and practice.

It is in this void of neglected policy and poor practice where K-EXPRO provided timely financial and technical support, behind the scenes, to local interventions with an explicit focus on sector issues more likely to unite local stakeholders and not to inflame relations with industry or government (national and county).

Our implementation of K-EXPRO was politically-savvy, flexible and adaptive – it was deliberately re-designed following DFID Kenya’s Project Quality Review (PQR) in 2017 which saw the programme budget reduced by 75%. With a tighter focus on oil and Turkana, we supported local businesses and communities in Turkana to be better prepared for challenges and opportunities in the extractives sector.

Challenges

Working in a complex political environment, K-EXPRO faced challenges throughout its implementation. Examples of challenges include:

  • high government and community expectations against the backdrop of the an unknown potential of Kenya’s extractive sector to deliver tangible benefits to all Kenyans;
  • uncertainty around the establishment of governance arrangements for the oil and gas value chains;
  • downwards revision in estimated recoverable oil resources by industry, and the subequent accounement of a more modest phased approach to developing the Turkana oil fields; and
  • increased political and social tension around the 2017 general elections.

We ensured that these uncertainties were addressed as effectively as possible, and our approach was politically astute and well-informed with a flexible and adaptable programme management design. This approach offered an understanding of the drivers of uncertainty coupled with appropriate management of risk, as both were critical success factors for K-EXPRO, and at the same time ensured innovative programme management and execution.

Our approach

Our approach on K-EXPRO combined strong programme management with a ‘thinking and working politically’ (TWP) approach so that our support reflected and took into account different stakeholders’ interests and incentives for change, as well as changing circumstances.

Our programme management practice was realistic as to what is achievable whilst remaining responsive to change. K-EXPRO benefited from our ability to identify, mitigate, and manage the array of challenges presented by a programme operating in a frontier country. 

Under K-EXPRO, we paid particular attention to the issue of sustainability by supporting ‘home-grown’ initiatives that not only met K-EXPRO’s objectives but produced results that held the promise of continuity. We worked through local partners who would continue to be present in Turkana following the close down of K-EXPRO, maximising the potential for long-term impact.

Outcomes

Through local partners, K-EXPRO supported capacity building and training of local businesses in Turkana to take up contracts with Tullow Oil and other large investors in northern Kenya. Also, K-EXPRO’s local partnerships worked to provide increased community engagement around the oil sector improving their understanding of the sector and what to expect for the future of oil in Turkana.

By opening up the space for government, communities, and investors to coordinate, engage, and resolve key issues constraining the extractives sector, K-EXPRO worked to promote the potential for resource-leveraged development anchored on investments which generate adjacent economic development opportunities in other sectors.

The fact than many of the interventions are going to be continued after K-EXPRO provides evidence that early and thoughtful support, when operational and delivery risks are highest, can pave the way for other donors, adding significant potential impact to funding.