Communities where gemstones, oil and gas are being extracted continue to languish in poverty despite the government putting in place a formula to distribute the revenue collected from mining activity in their areas. This was the picture Artisanal and Small-scale Miners captured during the Jukwaa La Madini, Mafuta na Gesi held between November 14 and 16, 2023, in Nairobi.
Exploiting extractive resources offers substantial revenue prospects and possible contributions to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. The extractive sector accounts for an estimated 4.2% of the national GDP and 3% of Kenya’s export earnings. From the 4.2% of the national GDP, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) account for an estimated 0.8%. In Kenya, there are around 800,000 Kenyans who depend on ASM.
Thomas Kipnyeng said when reading the speech of the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mining (Elijah Mwangi): “Transparency is the bedrock of trust.”
Indeed, a lack of transparency by multinationals and national government on revenue has caused distrust in the community. Even though the law has provided the 7-2-1 extractive/ mining revenue distribution rule, members of mining communities from Taita Taveta, Kwale, Kilifi, Kitui, Kakamega, Kajiado, Narok, Migori, Marsabit and Turkana indicated that they did not know how much they were entitled to. The 7-2-1 rule means the central government retains 70% of the proceeds, 20% is sent to the county government, and 10% to the community.
The efforts of artisanal and small-scale miners continue to be thwarted by a myriad of challenges, including equipment, finances, and the market. These have contributed to the violation of human rights that bedevil the mining and extractive industry in Kenya.
Further, women continue to face discrimination and exploitation in the mining fields.
Josephine Chao from Taita Taveta said:
“There are tasks that women are not given at the mines, not that we cannot do them, and that affects our earnings. Buyers of our minerals bargain for lower prices than they will part with, buying from a male seller. We also face sexual abuse and exploitation in the extractive industry,”
“Since the enactment of the Mining Act 2016, Kenya, we have made good progress in Kenya, but there is still much to be done. In terms of participation, women are not meaningfully involved. Most of the time, men are given all the time and at the tail end of discussions, a woman is asked to give their opinion or idea in passing,” said Pauline Atieno.
She added: “Women need platforms like this one where they can articulate their views and voice their issues to be part of policy making in the mining and extractive sector.”
Author: Mary Consolata Makokha, Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya. Edited by Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya.