L’enjeu des ressources naturelles du Kenya

OXFORD – Le Kenya exporte de l’énergie depuis longtemps – sous la forme de coureurs de fond parmi les plus rapides du monde. Mais le Kenya exportera bientôt une autre forme d’énergie, beaucoup plus rentable, alors que le pays commence à exploiter une série de découvertes récentes de gisements pétroliers dans sa portion de  725 km de long de la vallée du grand rift, une faille dans la croûte terrestre qui s’étend du Liban au Mozambique.

Les pays d’Afrique ont une longue expérience des inconvénients de grandes dotations en ressources. Le Kenya doit tirer les enseignements de ces cas, afin d’éviter que cette nouvelle manne pétrolière ne fasse trébucher l’Afrique orientale dans sa fuite en avant vers l’union monétaire.

Les gisements sont certainement immenses. Dans les deux dernières années, des réserves de plus de 1,7 milliard de barils de pétrole ont été découvertes dans le bassin de Lokichar. Les estimations varient beaucoup, mais le potentiel va jusqu’à 20 milliards de barils – un volume qui ferait du Kenya l’un des pays d’Afrique les plus riches en ressources, juste derrière le Nigeria, qui dispose de 37 milliards de barils de réserves confirmées. Un pays voisin, l’Ouganda a découvert 3,5 milliards de barils et en Tanzanie de vastes réserves de gaz naturel ont aussi été découvertes.

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