The 2015 Economic Forum focused on exploring opportunities around the emerging extractives industry in East Africa, with a focus on key sectors including oil & gas, mining, and infrastructure investment necessary in facilitating a production economy around the industry.
Aiden Eyakuze - Keynote address at the the 2015 LéO Africa Economic Forum
The extractive industries sector in East Africa is growing exponentially with the discovery of oil and gas in Uganda and Kenya. In 2006, Uganda discovered commercially viable oil deposits in the Albertine Graben in western Uganda with an estimate of 2.5 billion barrels of oil. In neighboring Kenya the government has issued more than 47 exploration licenses and has four prospective basins in Anza, Lamu, Mandera, and the tertiary rift. Tanzania, unlike its neighbors, has no commercial discoveries of oil but it has built a niche in the natural gas sector with two producing gas fields in Songo Songo and Manzi Bay.
Extractive industries, especially oil and gas, have the potential to transform the East African region into prosperous economies but it also create risks and challenges for any economy especially when dealing with issues of inclusion. As East African countries start extracting oil, gas, and minerals, there is a pressing need to look closer at how the resource curse can be avoided and how the extractive sector can be a force for inclusive business practices. In the past some economies have become so heavily dependent on the extractives sector that other opportunities within the economy have been ignored.
The keynote speaker, Aiden Eyakuze, suggested that East Africa’s oil and gas finds were a case of “too little, too late,” and that the region had better focus on tapping other important resources namely, the young people