Kenyans are abuzz with hope that the country’s newly-discovered resources will enrich the east African nation, but the main question is: will Kenya be prepared to make the most of its natural wealth?

Kenya, a long time straggler in a continent known for its mining and oil, is now facing the prospect of a natural resources boom, reports  And Kenyans are hoping that the country can harness its newfound mineral wealth to propel East Africa’s largest economy even further.

“Kenya has loads of oil, and you’ve got oil companies who are very eager to seize the opportunity,’ says Aly-Khan Satchu, a Kenyan financial markets and commodities trader who specialises in oil. “It’s going to convert the eastern seaboard of Africa into an energy and geo-political hot -spot.”

British Tullow Oil, for example, is preparing to extract an estimated 250 million barrels of crude from the country’s northern desert, which would be worth around US$27 billion based on current oil prices.

Meanwhile, mining companies have also been rushing to explore new discoveries across the country in recent years.

Australian company Base Titanium, for instance, will begin exporting mineral sands from its Kwale mine in south-eastern Kenya this year; the company estimates the project will generate US$300 million in revenue for the Kenyan state over the 13-year life of the mine, and will more than double the value of Kenya’s total mineral exports.

And in the south of Kenya, the Chinese firm Fenxi Mining Group hopes to extract an estimated 400Mt of coal reserves worth a potential US$40 billion.

But while these discoveries could provide a significant source of revenue for Kenya, disorganisation within Kenya’s mining ministry, and controversy surrounding one Canadian company in particular, raise concerns that the country may be unprepared to regulate and benefit from its forthcoming resource surge.

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Picture: Apache Kenya Limited has secured the use of the deepwater drilling ship Deepsea Metro 1 to drill the giant Mbawa prospect.