President Kenyatta launches the Lamu Port

By Elkanah Nyauma

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President Uhuru Kenyatta today unveiled the Chinese funded Lamu Port in Lamu. The president launched the Kes.310 billion port to complement the port of Mombasa while opening Kenya’s poorly developed Northern Kenya border.

Speaking during the launch, Kenyatta said the project is part of his country’s effort to change the lives of its people.

“A new chapter unfolds today in the development and transformation of Lamu, a chapter now joins the transformation that is taking place in every part of our country”, he said.

The Lamu Port is part of the regional multi modal infrastructure program, Lamu Port South-Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET). The project integrates roads, railway and pipeline components in Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The undertaking is one of the largest of its kind in East Africa intended to provide smooth connectivity and boost trade within the region. This will be through provision of an alternative and strategic passageway to serve the landlocked neighbouring countries of South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Key features of the Lamu Port South-Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET).

i. A 32 Berth Port in Lamu intended to unlock logistics and trade and create regional transport hub;
ii. Interregional Standard Gauge Railway lines from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Nakodok and Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Moyale and to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and Nairobi to Isiolo;
iii. Crude Oil Pipeline from Juba (South Sudan) – Nakodok – Lokichar – Isiolo – Lamu; and
iv. Product Oil Pipeline from Lamu – Isiolo-to Moyale (Kenya) and Moyale to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
v. Interregional Highways from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Nakodok and Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Moyale and to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).

Africa relies heavily on ships and ports to service its intercontinental trade. While it accounts for approximately 2.7% of global trade by value, the continent contributes higher shares to global seaborne trade – 7% and 5% of maritime exports and imports by volume, respectively. While one-third of African countries are landlocked, maritime transport remains the main gateway to the global marketplace. (Source: UNCTAD)

The Lamu Port is a convenient investment for Kenya. It marks an important milestone towards the transformation of regional economies by increasing trade and integration and interconnection of East African countries and the world.

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