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Implications of Local Content Policies in Developing East Africa’s Natural Resources

About the workshop 

In January 2015, KAPSARC convened its second East Africa workshop from the series of workshops focusing on local content and macroeconomics impacts of natural resource developments. The twoday workshop, attended by over thirty international and local experts, took place in Maputo. Discussions were conducted under the Chatham House Rule of capturing the discussion on a non-attribution basis. 

Key Points 

Developing local content policies requires first a definition of what constitutes ‘local’ and ‘content’. The politically workable answers are typically different in Eastern Africa than other parts of the world  local context is important. There is no single template that can be transported from one country and adopted in another. However, two inferences that may have more general application are: 

  •  developing specific, stand-alone regulations for local content realizes higher levels of indigenization than trying to incorporate policies into existing general employment and procurement regulations; and 
  •  countries whose local content policies encourage cooperation between foreign and domestic firms realize their targets faster than countries that emphasize control and ownership. 

Uganda and Mozambique appear to be following very different paths in developing local content policies - perhaps a reflection of the differing scales and timeframes of their resource development - and only time will tell which will prove the more successful.

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