Exclusive interview with Mairura Omwenga, Chairman of the Town and County Planners Association of Kenya (TCPAK), a supporting association at the upcoming Kenya Mining Forum in Nairobi in November.
He is also part of a panel discussion at the event on “Spotlight on the counties: Looking for attractive mining and quarrying investment opportunities”.
“It is important that local communities and counties are involved fully in the planning and development of the mining and quarry sector”
Let’s start with some background on TCPAK, your goals, your members and your role there.
I am the Chairman of Town and County Planners Association of Kenya (TCPAK). TCPAK is a professional membership society of town planners/land use planners or physical planners. Our vision is to be a premier and leading town, county and country planning association of choice in Kenya and the world. The association has over 300 members drawn from national and county governments, the private sector, academia and NGOs.
What has been a highlight in terms of projects for the organisation thus far?
TCPAK has grown to be a leading town planning association both Kenya and internationally. TCPAK now host the Africa Region/Nairobi Liaison Office of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).
What role is TCPAK playing in the mining sector?
The mining sector is not fully developed in Kenya compared to other countries like South Africa. It is also true that technical capacity in mining sector is low in all sectors and more so as it related to town planning and land use planning. TCPAK is therefore taking the lead in training and capacity building in mining for its members.
Which projects that you are involved in are you most excited about at the moment?
The most exciting project is training and capacity building in the mining sector in partnership with local and international organisations
How promising is the mining industry in Kenya? What is your vision?
The prospects are very bright for the mining sector in Kenya. Indications are that Kenya has vast deposits of valuable minerals and many continue being discovered. The mining sector, together with the oil sector, is set to be a major player in shaping the socio-economic future of the country.
What in your view are the main challenges?
The main challenge facing the sector is inadequate data on mining potential in Kenya. The legislation and policy regime is still weak and not fully developed, particularly on the share of revenue among local communities, government and investors. It is also true to note that the local technical capacity is also low, including town/land use planning in the mining areas and ensure green and sustainable development.
How important is Kenya Mining Forum on the industry calendar?
There is enormous potential for mining sector in Kenya that includes the oil sector both on land and the sea. The Kenya Mining Forum is therefore very important on the industry calendar.
At Kenya Mining Forum you are part of a panel discussion on “Spotlight on the counties: Looking for attractive mining and quarrying investment opportunities”. What will be your message at the event?
Minerals are local resources that relate closely to local communities and the counties. It is therefore important that local communities and counties are involved fully in the planning and development of the mining and quarry sector. It is also important that adequate town/land use planning is undertaken before the development of the mining projects.
What are you most looking forward to at the event?
I look forward to identifying greater opportunities in the mining sector and developing a wider network of partners.
Anything else you would like to add?
The governments in Africa need to initiate programs in the training professionals in the mining field. This includes town/land use planning in the mining/oil sector.