Upcoming Nairobi Seminar

Institute for Security Studies and Hanns Seidel Foundation Seminar, Nairobi
Oil and Gas Discoveries in Kenya and the Region: Opportunities and Challenges
Tuesday 6 November 2012
10h00 to 13h00

East Africa, and Kenya in particular, is increasingly developing into an important hydrocarbon region. With proven reservoirs and heightened exploration activity, the region is hoping for an oil boom and the attendant profits. In ideal circumstances, the oil and gas resources in Kenya and the region should become engines of stability, economic growth and improved governance. Looking at experiences elsewhere on the continent, however, there is a danger of the ‘resource curse’ syndrome, which counsels about the perils of hydrocarbons turning into sources of instability and ecological catastrophe. Indeed, the dismal track record of Africa’s oil producers has led to concerns about the possibility of Kenya and the greater region falling victim to Africa’s paradox of plenty. There are already emerging concerns about territorial disputes relating to Kenya and the region linking to the discovery of natural resources.

As Kenya in particular draws increasing interest from major oil companies, the question is: what are the short- and medium-term projections for oil and gas discoveries, and what are the geostrategic implications? Significantly, what policy options should Kenya pursue to avoid past development failures associated with petroleum and to militate against potential conflict? This seminar will examine these questions, among others, with the aim of offering policy recommendations on improving outcomes of oil and gas production in Kenya and the region.

At the ISS office at Braeside Gardens on Gitanga Road in Lavington.

Link to register is here.

New Somalia and Uganda reports

The Institute for Security Studies covers the Somali transition in its Daily Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Report:

A total of 215 parliamentarians were sworn in on Monday, 20 August 2012, at a well-guarded ceremony at the Mogadishu airport, ushering in a new era of reforms in Somalia. The ceremony marked the attainment of one of the key milestones identified by the 2011 consultative meeting on ending the transition in the country. . . .

. . . 20 August 2012 was the actual date scheduled for the end of the transition and therefore Somalia should in fact have had a parliament, speaker and deputies, and a president in place by that date. However, due to delays in meeting a number of the deadlines largely blamed on the politics surrounding the selection and submission of names by the traditional elders, and subsequently the vetting process by the Technical Selection Committee (TSC), the whole process was delayed. As a result, the deadline has passed without Somalia meeting all the important milestones envisaged under the Roadmap.

. . . . The politics surrounding the election of the speaker and the president are two remaining crucial issues. This is because the two positions cannot go to the same clan and, as such, clans may try to play their cards to get the optimum result, given the winner-takes-all-nature of the politics surrounding the transition. The situation is still extremely fragile and the country would benefit from maximum support from the international community, while ensuring Somali-centeredness and ownership. Although Somalia did not meet the deadline for the selection of the speaker and the president, the swearing-in of parliamentarians is a watershed moment for a country that has been riddled with lawlessness for 20 years. The progress made has given new hope to some Somalis and renewed the faith of the international community in the peace process.

Human Rights Watch yesterday released a report “Curtailing Criticism: Intimidation and Obstruction of Civil Society in Uganda”.  See a summary here at “Child Troopers.”  In addition to civil liberties issues, the Museveni regime is cracking down “particularly on organizations that might be seen as infringing upon the officials’ political and financial interests,” according to Maria Burnett of HRW.