Energy: Power for All
The generation of energy has been widened to encompass small-scale power generation schemes, with attractive financial incentives. This program is anchored on providing 5-year low-interest loans to villagers to produce solar and wind energy. This funding will come from the sale of state energy assets. The question here is, what safeguards are in place to espouse transparency and uphold integrity in the whole process? There is need for safeguards that will ensure that the proceeds from the sale of state energy assets will benefit the target local communities.
In the spirit of devolution, the Jubilee Manifesto has identified the need to work with the county governments in making energy accessible to all. This will be achieved through a review of the legislations governing access to energy resources in “order to give the source county 20per cent rights of the net income of the resource.” TI-Kenya will work with counties to ensure safeguards are put in place while reviewing these legislations so that rights, transparency and accountability mechanisms, that protect target local communities are enshrined in the legislations.
The Jubilee Government has identified Kenya’s natural resources as one of the key drivers of the economy. If well managed, the country will prosper however, if mismanaged natural resources can give rise to deadly human conflicts, which are usually based on lack of equity in distributing revenue accrued from the natural resources, as well as lack of transparency and accountability in their management. Thus, in an attempt to avert such a scenario, the Jubilee Government calls for creation of an in-country Sovereign Wealth Fund that will be “based on international best practices to secure an income from the resources of today for future generations in Kenya.”
The Environment: Protecting Kenya’s Environment
While emphasis is on creating a low-carbon and climate-change resilient economy as one of the key aims of the Jubilee Government’s manifesto, Kenya has neither a climate change policy nor a carbon trading policy. Having the two policies will ensure the country taps into the growing carbon market designed to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing carbon emissions in an orderly manner.
However, currently Kenya is operating under the auspices of the Kyoto protocol and international requirements on clean development mechanism guidelines.
The Jubilee Government in its manifesto calls for the “establishment of a regional framework for carbon trading across the EAC, the wider African region and beyond.” Kenya developed a climate change action plan that recognizes the need to have carbon trading schemes as a condition towards development of Kenya’s economy. While Kenya is leading in the region by having 10 CDM projects that have been accredited, it would be more strategic to create systems first in Kenya and then spread the initiative to other countries if at all the carbon hub is to take off.
In furtherance of devolution, the Jubilee Manifesto promises the establishment of county carbon trading schemes.
Through deployment of the Integrated Financial Management Information System at the Central and County Government levels, the Jubilee administration intends to open the tendering process for scrutiny by Kenyans who are being urged to track every tax shilling spent by the two levels of Government. If this is fully implemented, then the mix-up of climate finance with other development resources ending in double accounting of climate finance will be resolved.
By Judy Ndichu
The writer is the Programme Officer, Climate Governance Integrity Programme at TI-Kenya.