March 11, 2015
News /
Posted by NCID

After winning a preparatory grant from the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation’s (3IE) thematic window in ‘Accountability and Transparency in Extractives’, the grant-holding team began to develop a full-proposal for the project. Essential to this process was traveling to Nairobi to meet with experts, stakeholders, and potential partners.

The focal point of the trip was a workshop organized by NCID and Robert Mudida, of Strathmore University. Amongst the nine presenters were Alex Armand and Paul Atwell of NCID, Professor Mudida, and stakeholders with deep experience in extractives, from either academic, NGO, government, or private sector backgrounds. Through the presentations and adjacent dialogue it was clear that there is significant cause for research in accountability and transparency and that targeted research may be partial solution to giving civil society in Kenya a more responsive and open government. Within this, extractives were identified at being an especially complex issue in need of amelioration, despite only just having become a growth industry in Kenya.

Following an opening presentation by project head, Alex Armand, a series of presentations provided sweeping insights into the area of transparency in the extractives sector in Kenya. Professor of Geology at Nairobi University, Daniel Ichangi, presented his perspective on the general potential and potential pitfalls of developing extractives in Kenya. His presentation was informed through both scientific expertise and his time as a policy consultant during the drafting of the 2010 Kenyan Constitution. The industry is experiencing “a new dawn” he stated, but we need to ask ourselves “what kind of day it will be.”

Monica Gichuhi, the former CEO of the Kenya Chamber of Mines, provided key insights into the private sector side of mining in Kenya. In her former capacity, she was a spokesperson and coordinator for the interests of all mining organization, including artisanal miners. Her contributions to the conversation included that while mining groups need to be just as accountable as politicians, operating in Kenya has been a historically difficult process. Despite common conceptions, most mining groups do not experience wide profit margins due to high revenue sharing rates, a complex regulatory framework, and a lack of infrastructure. In resolving issues of local entitlements and industry impacts, she argues that transparency and dialogue with civil society and effected communities is imperative to making extractives a socially productive industry. 

Paul Atwell of NCID presented more precisely the proposal’s focus on utilizing SMS as a medium for disseminating information and increasing demand for transparency. This research interest was received with positive, but measured encouragement. Central concerns put forth included illiteracy in rural populations, limits on content (of SMS), whether messages would appear political, and what actions it may incite, should information highlight unreceived entitlements or local corruption.

Information displayed by all presentations will be used to develop a full-proposal for a policy evaluation study in Kenya in the coming months. If funded, implementation and analysis would begin in the coming year and conclude within a three-year window. The research team hopes that several contacts made at the workshop and subsequent meetings during the week may be involved in the project, should it be approved for full funding.



Alex Armand – Resident Fellow, Navarra Center for International Development

James Vancel – Managing Director, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics

Elizabeth Mueni - Director, Social Sector, National Economic and Social Council

Stephen Wainayna - Former Planning Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning

Daniel Ichangi – Professor of Geology (Nairobi University), Consultant for drafting of 2010 constitution

Monica Gichuhi – Former CEO of the Kenya Chamber of Mines

Paul Atwell – Research Assistant, Navarra Center for International Development

Robert Mudida – Academic Director, Center for Public Policy and Competitiveness, Strathmore Business School

Samuel Mwale – Former Permanent Secretary, Office of the President

Related content: