Kenya seeks LAPSSET project support in Ethiopia

Kenya seeks LAPSSET project support in Ethiopia

The government of Kenya is seeking support from Ethiopia over the LAPSSET project. A delegation from Kenya, led by Raila, has flewn to Ethiopia to pitch for Lamu Port which has culminated with the establishment of a Steering Committee for the LAPSSET Corridor project, involving Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

The LAPSSET Corridor Program is Eastern Africa’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project bringing together Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. This mega project consists of seven key infrastructure projects starting with a new 32 Berth port at Lamu (Kenya); Interregional Highways from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and Lamu to Garsen (Kenya), Crude Oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Juba; Product Oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Addis Ababa; Interregional Standard Gauge Railway lines from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Juba, Isiolo to Addis Ababa, and Nairobi to Isiolo; 3 International Airports: one each at Lamu, Isiolo, and Lake Turkana; 3 Resort Cities: one each at Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana; and The multipurpose High Grand Falls Dam along the Tana River.

Constraints

Launched in 2012 during former President Mwai Kibaki’s regime, the mega project has been marred with cash constraints and lack of political good-will which has slowed down its implementation. In August 2019 , the government led by AU High Representative on Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga turned to the African Union (AU) as it sought investors and regional support for the project.

While it was part of the project, Ethiopia has been keen on the port of Djibouti with the end of its political and economic wars with Eritrea (the July 2018 peace deal), leading to more concentration towards the north.

Road and rail infrastructure between the two countries including the Ethio-Djibouti railway passenger and freight system, which commenced on January 1, 2018, saw interest shift away from the Lapsset corridor.

Kenya presented a strong case to the AU on the Lapsset project’s strategic position to connect not only Ethiopia and South Sudan, but also connecting to Central African Republic (Bangui) and Cameroon, terminating at Port of Douala.

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