Kenya to begin construction of the gateway to Africa

The Lamu- Juba railway Line
THE GOVERNMENT OF Kenya will in February 2012 conduct a ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the construction of the Lamu port. The project is not just a port but series of infrastructure projects in which the Lamu port situated on Indian Ocean is a key component.

The Lamu corridor is a transport and infrastructure project in Kenya that when complete will be the country's second transport corridor. Kenya's other transport corridor is the Mombasa port and Mombasa - Uganda transport corridor that passes through Nairobi and much of the Northern Rift. Since it will link Kenya to South Sudan and Ethiopia, the project is known as the Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET)

 Other projects in the series include a high speed railway line Linking South Sudan and Ethiopia to the Indian Ocean Port, a road network linking the same destinations, an oil refinery, oil pipeline, three airports and three Resort cities. The entire development will cost a whopping US$23 billion.

The port itself will cost an estimated US$3.5 billion. Located at on 1000 acres of land at Manda Bay within Lamu, the Port will comprise of 32 berths three of which will be financed by the Kenya government. The other 29 will be built on PPP basis. So far China and Japan are said to be keen on the constructing the port.

The project is thus a complete transport corridor linking Kenya’s second Port on the India Ocean to the hinterland including Ethiopia and South Sudan. Sections of the Infrastructure network will be funded by South Sudan and Ethiopia n governments but the bulk of the cost will fall on Kenya.

The Proposed gateway to Africa
A part from opening up remote northern Kenya for economic exploitation, the corridor is envisaged to eventually be the gateway to Africa as more extensions to D.R Congo and other landlocked parts of Central Africa are added.

A1720 KM Railway line from Lamu to Juba in South Sudan will be constructed at a cost of US$8.1 billion according to Kenya railways Corporation, www.

The line is seen as the beginning of the Equatorial Land Bridge linking the Port of Lamu on the Indian Ocean to the East to the Port of Doula in Cameroon on the Atlantic Ocean to the West. Such a link, it is envisaged, will cut freight travel time by at least two to three weeks and increase shipping lines’ turn-around times and hence their revenue.

The bulk of the entire cost of the Lamu-Transport corridor will fall on Kenya. At the peak of the project, between 2013 and 2018 sources say, it is expected that the Kenyan government will be spending about 6 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product or 16per cent of its annual budget on the project. The project is in turn expected to generate an additional three percent increase in Kenya's GDP by 2020.

 However, both Sudan and Ethiopian will also foot part of the costs.  South Sudan for instance will build and own the 1700KM oil Pipeline linking its Oil wells with the Port of Lamu. This will cost an estimated US$4 billion.

Kenya and Ethiopia have jointly already secured a UD$360 million loan from the African Development Bank, AfD, for the Construction of a 320KM road linking the two countries. Ethiopia will receive 41 per cent of the funds to build a 198KM section between Hawassa and Ageremariam. Kenya will receive the balance to build the 122KM Turbi-Moyale section says the AfDB on its website,

The proposed oil refinery in Lamu with a refining capacity of 120,000 barrels a day will cost $ 2.5 billion. Other projects include the construction of three green field resort cities in Lamu Isiolo and Lake Turkana. Of the three Isiolo is way ahead. The local authority has already approved the allocation of 2,500Ha of land for the project while the construction of the US$12 million Isiolo international airport is on-going.  According to the Chief Economist in the Ministry of Tourism which is driving this project, the Resort city will cost US$210 million and will be developed on PPP basis.
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