In Summary
  • The announcement has given Nairobi the much needed boost for its flagship multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project that has dragged on for years.

  • Kenya has already completed the first berth of the Lamu port under the Sh2.4 trillion Lapsset project, which also comprises link roads from Kenya to Ethiopia.

The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) corridor project got its biggest boost yet after it was adopted as an African Union project.

INFRASTRUCTURE

It will be redesigned to link the Sh32 billion Lamu port on the shores of the Indian Ocean to the Douala port in Cameroon, on the Atlantic Ocean.

The project will be implemented in two phases — starting with the Lamu-Isiolo-Addis Ababa-Djibouti route before embarking on connecting Lamu to Kribi/Douala via Juba and Bangui.

The announcement has given Nairobi the much needed boost for its flagship multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project that has dragged on for years.

Speaking during the signing of a memorandum of understating between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan in Mombasa, AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga said the organisation had adopted Lapsset as a continental project and this would now see it get implemented under the AU.

“This project will now not only connect Kenya with Ethiopia and South Sudan, but with other West Africa countries once it is completed. As an AU project, it will link with other continental corridors such as East Africa Northern Corridor, East Africa Central Corridor and provide a land bridge through the African Great Lakes region,” Mr Odinga said

PARTNER COUNTRIES

The three countries signed the MoU that will now help the project to facilitate its infrastructure development and funding. Attending the three-day meeting were prospective financiers of the project, the African Development Bank (AfDB), a boost for the project that has so far been funded only by Kenya.

“The new regional project implementation programme will assist partner countries to hasten the development of the project and this commitment will attract more financiers to bring this project to a success. In the past, each country has been funding its own projects, but the MoU will facilitate crowd funding,” Mr Odinga said.

The three countries — with AfDB, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU-Nepad) — agreed to form a representative steering committee to coordinate implementation of the corridor.

CROWD FUNDING

They also agreed to initiate dialogue between Lapsset footprint states towards a shared approach and establishment of an institutional mechanism for implementing the project.

“We mandate the existing representative technical committees supporting this initiative to continue with the dialogue and engagement to enable implementation of the roadmap,” their joint communique reads in part.

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