, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 20- The government is scheduled to break ground for the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor in February as it seeks to improve the road network and connectivity with neighboring countries.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that the multi-trillion shilling project would enable the country exploit the vast resources in the region in a move aimed at catapulting the country into a medium income economy by 2030.
He was upbeat that the construction of Lamu Port and the transport corridor through Isiolo, Moyale and Turkana will open up development prospects in Northern Kenya, linking it to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
‘’The project will have a transport corridor linking it with Ethiopia and South Sudan. Besides the port, the project also incorporates an oil refinery at Isiolo’’, Prime Minister Odinga said.
With the East African road network accounting for 80 percent of the regional cargo, improving the Northern Corridor that runs from Mombasa to the Great Lakes is crucial in boosting trade and investment within the region.
Already complete, the 100 km Emali-Loitoktok road was upgraded at a cost of Sh4.2 billion, which included an extension of 12km from Loitoktok to Kibauni at the Kenya-Tanzania border.
As the busiest road in the Northern Corridor, accounting for the highest volume of transit goods to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, the 60 km Eldoret-Webuye-Malaba road is still undergoing upgrades at a cost of Sh7.05 billion.
Over the last one year, Kenya exports to the East African Community partner States have grown by a surplus of Sh10 billion from a value of Sh79.7 billion to Sh90 billion, a major incentive to further develop infrastructure in the region.
The premier said the flow of goods from Kenya’s coastline has proven to be an issue, with the Port of Mombasa expected to surpass its full cargo holding capacity of 20 million tones, this year hence the need to develop the Lamu Port.
About 96 percent of cargo from the Mombasa port is transported by road, heavily overloading the Mombasa-Nairobi-Western economic corridor.