East Africa has been a region grappling with energy issues and it has really eaten into their budget. But this is soon going to be a thing of the past as more deposits of oil and gas are being discovered with every break of the day.
It has even struck the attention of the European community who now want to be part of the excitement. It is becoming more of "a mourner mourning more than the bereaved".
The East Africans are watching as other region celebrate on our behalf. It is either we are amazed at what we have or confused by their excitement. Do we really understand what opportunity nature has bestowed upon us? Do we know the value of this untapped liquid gold that lie on our soil? Chinua Achebe puts it very clear; one should not spit the sweet morsel that fortune has placed on its mouth.
In a meeting held in London dubbed East Africa oil and gas discovery-(notice in London not even in a city in East Africa) participants discussed on how to come and improve this multi-billion project that will see the region become the third largest producer of oil and gas in the world. Seriously!
Yet there are walk to work demos in Uganda, soaring fuel prices in Kenya, shortages of fuel in Tanzania and the sources are in the region. Can't we grab opportunities?
For this region to grow we ought to work together and scale greater heights. It is time to invest on these two commodities and focus more on regional development to empower our own before reaching out to the rest. It is time to improve on our networks so as to reach out to others easily, open up the boarders and cut out delays. Much has been done you'll urge but more has to be done to realise our own fostered growth.
Setting out pipelines in the region, will cut out the cost of transportation and save our roads from much damage from tracks that sometimes carry excess goods. By cutting cost, the prices of basic commodities will automatically go down because the cost of production will have gone low hence better living standard of the population.
This is also an opportunity to create employment to the human resource hanging out without jobs. This will go a long way in cutting down on the governments headache of trying to create jobs. If well managed it should accommodate as much as seventy per cent of the unemployed the experts at the London meeting stated. How great would that be! We will be sure of one thing; the crime rate in the region will take a nose dive as the idol lot will be kept busy and will sustain its self. The rate of employment means that the regions tax collection goes high and therefore better services provision.
As we attract investors in the region, they come in with better ideas, skills and facilities. That translates to a quality end result, more foreign currency and hence a strong economy of the region-this new kid on the block. With such kind of scenario, life is yet to make a round-turn about that will leave our neighbours admiring us; that is if well managed. Business ties with other countries will be strengthened and it will make the region the hub of real investment.
The challenge now comes in on how the region is to be managed this liquid resource that it has struck? Mechanisms have to be put in place to see to it this opportunity does not turn out to be a curse as it has been witnessed in other regions with wealth natural resources.
The political commitment is one vital area that the leaders in the region should emphasis. Strict measures and regulations can be drafted to help in this important course.
With the region surrounded by the security threats, the governments ought to comb the area and invest a little more on security to assure the investors the security of their investment. Broker peace in the war tone Somalia and DRC and hence the safety of the region for it is combined effort. As a community the battle is half won and working together assures the win. We are placed with peace than when it is not there.
The onus is on us as a region to take care of this child named liquid gold that nature has given us without measure. Let us protect it for not so long it will take care of us when we need it most.
For their comes a time in voyage when a sailor has to shade all his precious treasures to the annoyed sea to save his boat, but when the storm is over, he will always dive in to re-claim what is his. Let us therefore put our interests aside as various countries and come together for East Africa's interest. It needs us.