, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 31 – Regional leaders are exploring ways to jointly finance the Lamu Port, Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project.
The leaders who attended a consultative meeting in Nairobi on Thursday were President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan.
In a statement read by their host President Uhuru Kenyatta at the end of the meeting, the leaders noted that the seven components of the LAPSSET project require an estimated $24.5 billion (Sh2 trillion) – for the Lamu Port alone with its 32 projected berths costing $3.1 billion (Sh272 billion).
“With the large sums involved, it was clear to us that a joint approach that is innovative will be required for implementation,” the leaders said.
During the meeting, the leaders explored the complexities of shortening the period between project conceptualisation and the realisation of a sustainable financial model that will deliver implementation.
“We sought to learn from the African Development Bank’s Africa50 Infrastructure Fund approach, and how our joint efforts can help make a compelling business case to private sector players,” they said.
The four regional leaders said their discussion was especially informed by the upcoming Africa-USA Summit on August 4 to August 7 that will allow them a chance to engage with American investors on the LAPSSET project.
“This is a continuation of similar engagements that are being held with investors from across the Middle East and the Indian Ocean Rim,” they said.
The leaders also dwelt on the need for regional peace and security to provide the conditions in which the LAPSSET project and many others will deliver the full benefits of growth and equity to the region’s progress.
The project involves the development of a new transport corridor from the new port of Lamu through Garissa, Isiolo, Mararal, Lodwar and Southern Sudan.
This will comprise of a new road network, a railway line, oil refinery at Lamu, oil pipeline, Isiolo and Lamu Airports and a free port at Lamu (Manda Bay) in addition to resort cities at the coast and in Isiolo. It will be the backbone for opening up Northern Kenya and integrating it into the national economy.
In the 2014/2015 budget Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced that Treasury had allocated Sh116 billion which would go towards all ongoing and new road projects in the country.