State seeks partners to fund Sh2 trillion Lapsset project
By - | June 20th 2012
By James Anyanzwa
The Government has appealed to development partners to help finance the implementation of the Sh2 trillion ($24.5 billion) infrastructure project at Manda Bay, Lamu.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday told the fourth development partnership forum in Nairobi that the completion of the new transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET) would dramatically alter the economic landscape of the entire African continent.
“LAPSSET project is not utopian, it is a reality. There is nothing wrong with us dreaming that it will transform Africa,” said Raila.
“We appeal to our partners to work together on this line.”
Raila said the Government has organised an investor conference in September to drum up support for the project.
He said through LAPSSET, intra Africa trade would be a reality.
Raila singled out infrastructure as a key component towards attracting foreign direct investments in the country.
He said insecurity, corruption, poor infrastructure and systems of taxation have increased the country’s cost of doing business, making it unattractive to investors.
He gave an example of Rwanda, a country that only recently emerged from pa potentially crippling crisis but has improved significantly in terms of simplifying the rules and procedures of doing business.
According to the World Bank’s 2012 Doing Business Report, Rwanda ranked 45th globally with Kenya at the 109th position.
LAPSSET project was officially launched on March, in an event graced by two other heads of State from Ethiopia and Southern Sudan.
President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) joined their Kenyan counterparts in inaugurating a project, which is expected to transform and directly influence the livelihood of more than 230 million people.
LAPSSET corridor seeks to integrate the economies of Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, East and Central Africa and open up the region to global trade opportunities.
The project is crucial to attainment of Kenya Vision 2030 and forms Kenya’s second Transport and Economic development corridor that is much wider than the port.
The project’s key components include Lamu Port, Lamu-Juba-Addis Ababa railway line, Oil refinery, Lamu-Juba-Addis Ababa oil pipeline, Airports, Lamu-Juba-Addis Ababa highway and Resort Cities
LAPSSET is expected to transform regional economies through increased trade, integration and interconnectivity.
It spans South Sudan and Ethiopia with first time land bridge across the middle of Africa from Lamu, all the way to Douala Cameroon on the Atlantic Ocean coast.
The project kicked off with construction of the initial three berths of the planned 32 berths at the modern port of Lamu.
The port will be three times the size of the current Mombasa Port and the more sheltered Manda bay.
The LAPSSET project is expected to position Lamu Port as an important trans-shipment hub poised to handle crude and refined oil and oil products from the new nation of South Sudan.
The project is expected to trigger employment and economic activities and more than double Kenya’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Government has formed a central coordinating committee based at the office of the prime minister to plan and manage the LAPSSET project implementation modalities prior to and after the groundbreaking ceremony.
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