number of projects are ongoing to realize the goals envisaged by the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor. Launched last year, the ongoing projects include automation of cargo processing, enhanced equipping of Lamu Port, development of Lamu SEZ, and regional engagement with South Sudan and Ethiopia to secure business.
Last year, a high-level regional meeting that brought together regional ministers, ambassadors, development banks, senior government officials from Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan agreed to form a Steering Committee to see the 3 countries operate and manage these regional infrastructure projects in a much more coordinated manner.
Early this month, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) convened a meeting in Nairobi to discuss how to address the financing needs of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor programme.
Experts emphasized the role of the private sector in LAPSSET development. According to the Director of the Transportation and Infrastructure Department at the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Emmanuel Onwodi, developing economies may not be able to provide the required funding for this project.
“It is, therefore, necessary to explore alternative means of funding, including Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), Loans and Grants from development finance institutions, and Tax Credits to corporate institutions,” Mr. Onwodi said.
Amb. Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Chair of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) noted that expediting approvals of mega projects would show that the region is serious about fixing its infrastructure projects thereby attracting a big number of investors.
“PPP is crucial to enable the private sector to participate in this ambitious programme,” Amb. Mathaura said.
The LAPSSET Corridor Program is a regional flagship project intended to provide transport and logistics infrastructure aimed at creating seamless connectivity between the Eastern African Countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The project connects a population of 160 million people in the three countries. Additionally, the LAPSSET Corridor is part of the larger land bridge that will connect the East African coast from Lamu Port to the West coast of Africa at Douala Port.