The African Union has adopted the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) corridor project.
AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga announced the new development saying the 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.
He added that 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.
“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,” the former Kenyan Prime Minister said during the signing of a memorandum of understating between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan in Mombasa.
The implementation of the project which has dragged for over five years will now 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 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 the implementation of the corridor.
They also agreed to initiate dialogue 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.
Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya Melos Alem said his country was committed to the project’s success.
“We are a large country and need infrastructure to make business cheaper, that is why we are investing in the Lapsset corridor. Already, we have tarmacked more than 500 kilometres from Moyale to Awasa. Our presence here should send a clear signal that we are for the project,” Alem said.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO