NAIROBI, November 29 – On Wednesday, November 26 George Okungu, the Managing Director of Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) availed me a priceless opportunity by inviting me as a Charge d’Affaires (a.i) of Sudan Embassy to participate in the commissioning of the Mombasa – Nairobi Petroleum Pipeline capacity Enhancement Project Pump Station No. 6 at Makindu.
It was a great day that inspired upon me a great deal of pleasure and happiness. It was an oasis of hope at the heart of desperation in which most Africans live these days. The following paragraphs will illustrate the greatness of November 26, at Makindu.
The importance of the commissioned project does not lie solely on the fact that it doubles the capacity of the Mombasa – Nairobi oil pipeline from 440,000 to 880,000 litres per hour. This, in fact, is good news for all Wananchi most of whom are suffering from the soaring oil prices. The enhanced capacity of the pipeline will reduce the cost of transporting oil products, which in turn translates into lower oil prices at the pump.
Reduced oil prices will be felt at all sectors of the economy especially those classified as energy-intensive. Agriculture will be given a new impetus and food prices may come down to affordable prices. Reduced energy prices will reduce the cost of production of all goods and services. This will be reflected in both supply and demand within the Kenyan economy and hence result in a sustainable economic growth.
Efficient oil supply through the pipeline will reduce the cost of maintenance of the highways. Also it eases the flow of goods from Mombasa to the different parts of the region.
The benefits of the project transcend the borders of Kenya to the outside world. A vibrant Kenyan economy means an increased supply of Kenyan products on the one hand and a growing demand for foreign products in the Kenyan economy on the other hand. More employment opportunities will be created for Kenyans and foreigners alike.
Kenya’s neighbours who depend on Mombasa port for their oil imports will be among the first foreign beneficiaries of the project. This category includes Burundi, Eastern DRC, Rwanda, Southern Sudan and Uganda.
The projects benefits will be maximised when the other complimenting projects are completed namely, Nairobi – Eldoret pipeline; Eldoret – Kampala pipeline, and the Kampala – Kigali – Bujumbura pipeline.
These projects will ensure a stable and efficient supply of oil products throughout the region. They also enhance the process of regional and continental integration and contribute positively to reducing inter state conflicts within the region.
The project is an embodiment of the South-Sudan cooperation since the major contractor is from China while the consultant is from India. This reflects that there are new players in the development process in the South. It also reveals that the implementation of high tech projects is no longer confined to companies from the developed world.
Thus it is evident that the commissioning of the project is a step forward not only for Kenya but also for whole region. And this is exactly what pushed me to use the above title.
The writer is a diplomat at Sudan Embassy, Nairobi