Kenya: Online tool fights mining corruption

Mining has been a closed business in Kenya; rarely securing international investment and lacking in transparency. But a new online tool, launched today by the Kenyan Government, will increase transparency and investment and reduce corruption.

The Online Transactional Mining Cadastre Portal (OTMCP) will help ensure fair access to the potentially vast mineral resources in one of East Africa’s most important economies.

The cadastre—a fully-digital, detailed geographical survey which accurately records mining licences and exploration rights—is one of the first of its kind in the world. Users can apply and pay for licences in just a few minutes, at the click of a mouse, from anywhere in the world. Previously, obscure rules and the need for a paper-based application discouraged many small-scale entrepreneurs and international investors alike.

Simultaneously, the duration of claims will be slashed from years to mere months—preventing “claim-sitting” and speeding up the pace of investment. The resulting jobs, revenue and infrastructure investment will be a crucial contribution to the Kenyan government’s aim of mineral resources surpassing agriculture as the largest economic sector by 2030.

Launching the portal, the Deputy President of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto, said: "The extraction gives us wealth, the processing gives us jobs." The OTMCP is the first element move in bringing the majority of government services online. “By digitising government payment we will be able to eliminate corruption," Hon. Ruto added.

The project was developed with support from the UK Department for International Development and technical assistance from Adam Smith International.

Gareth O’Hagan, Head of Extractive Industries Governance at Adam Smith International, said that Kenya was blazing a trail which other countries could follow. “So often in Africa, mineral wealth has ended up being a curse more than a blessing,” he said. “With the transparency that accompanies this new system, Kenya will be able to increase investment and ensure the benefits of the country’s natural resources flow back into the wider economy, for the benefit of the population as a whole.”

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