from SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – A multi-billion-dollar investment in transport network infrastructure, set to yield results by 2030, is Kenya’s game changer as the ambitious project seeks to decongest the major seaport of Mombasa and unlock economic opportunities in the country, the region and eventually the entire continent.
With the ground breaking launched in March 2012, the ambitious $360-billion project called Lamu (Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project, when complete is set to link Kenya with landlocked neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.
In the interior Africa, LAPSSET, rail, road and pipeline project, is positioned to open opportunities for Cotonou in Benin while connecting with Cameroon’s administrative capital of Douala for the sole purpose of promoting massive trade among African member states.
In an exclusive interview with CAJ News Africa on the sidelines of the two-day Kenya-South Africa Trade and Investment Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, LAPSSET Director-General, Silver Kasuku, said the ambitious project was aimed at boosting Kenya’s second seaport located along the Indian Ocean.
Presently, Mombasa in the south is heavily congested with volumes of business hence the establishment another seaport southeast of the country, Lamu, with the sole purpose of making it both seaport and transport corridor gateway linking landlocked African countries.
“The LAPSSET Corridor Project is the first largest game changing infrastructure project the government of Kenya has initiated and prepared under the Vision 2030 Strategy Framework,” said Kasuku.
He noted the project was being implemented without external assistance.
“The project will obviously foster transport linkage between Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia. This will boost regional socio-economic development along the transport corridor especially in the Northern, Eastern, North-Eastern and Coastal parts of Kenya,” said Kasuku.
The LAPSSET corridor project, which covers over half of the country with a planned investment resource equivalent to half of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) is anticipated to inject between 2 percent to 3 percent initially to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) of $60,9 billion.
Investors at the summit in South Africa predicted the LAPSSET project would contribute additional 8 percent to 10 percent to Kenya’s GDP when fully functional.
Already, a major component of the projects is stretching a distance of 1 000 kilometres into Ethiopia.
Another massive 5 00km highway linking with South Sudan is on course.
Kasuku further told South African investors that LAPSSET’s objective of developing Lamu Port was to provide a second sea port and transport corridor gateway link to serve the expanding import and export cargo base including the new opportunities in South Sudan and Ethiopia while reducing over-reliance on Mombasa.
Ironically, LAPSSET was in May awarded with the prestigious “African Investor (AI) Award of the year 2016 for the Regional Infrastructure Investment Initiative” during the AI CEO Infrastructure and Sovereign Wealth Fund Investment Summit Awards, held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kasuku revealed the development of Lamu seaport would enable Kenya establish the only transshipment port in the Eastern and Southern Africa after South Africa’s Durban seaport.
Durban is Africa’s busiest seaport connecting volumes of businesses among landlocked Southern African Development Communities of member states comprising Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The establishment of a transshipment port at Lamu Port at the Indian Ocean Coastline at a time when the Suez Canal is being widened will enable the new port to play the role of a transshipment port to serve the eastern and Southern Africa region, thus creating a new hub character in the Kenyan economy,” Kasuku said.
– CAJ News / APA