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Extractive Industries and the Poor in Africa: A Case Study of Coal Mining in the Mui Basin

This thesis is the result of several months of research including a four month fieldtrip to Central Kenya by Martin Neumann. The fieldtrip was conducted within the Research Program of the Cocoon Initiative (Conflict and Cooperation over Natural Resources in Africa executed by the African Studies Centre, Leiden and South Eastern Kenya University).

In a first step the theoretical frameworks of poverty and poverty reduction as well as the scientific debate on the political, economic, social and environmental impacts of natural resource extraction in developing countries are explored. Thereby, it is argued that the extractive sector in African developing countries does not provide adequate possibilities for a participation of the poor. The political and economical risks that accompany natural resource extraction do, on the other hand, harm the poor the most. Moreover, extractive industries have particular negative impacts on the environment and, thereby, on the livelihoods of the poor.

Secondly, this study introduces a case study from Central Kenya. The country is on the verge of important developments in the extractive sector due to recent resource discoveries. In the Mui Basin, Kitui County, coal deposits have been discovered and exploitation is going to begin in the near future. A survey undertaken with 75 households generally reveals a mixed picture of people’s perceptions and expectations towards the mining project. Responses show, however, clear correlations with regard to the gender, age, education and relative wealth of respondents. Better educated, wealthier, younger and male respondents perceive the mining project positively. Contrarily, lower educated, poorer, older and female respondents consider the project negatively. The perceptions of the respondents of the Mui Basin thereby confirm the argument of this study; the most vulnerable and poorest are unlikely to benefit from developments in the extractive sector, but rather suffer from its negative impacts. Therefore, if the extractive sector in developing countries is to be developed, p

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Martin Neumann
Eibseestraße 20
12527 Berlin