LAPSSET-Great Equatorial Land Bridge connectivity
The LAPSSET Corridor Program is a regional flagship project intended to seamless connect the Eastern African countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, thus connect an estimated population of 160million people in the three countries.
In so doing, the corridor is expected to promote economic integration and inter-connectivity between the Eastern African countries, thus encourage large-scale, socio-economic development.
The 1,700km Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor was conceived by the Government of Kenya (Gok) with Ethiopia and South Sudan as partners. It was launched in March 2012 by the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, and is part of Kenya’s long-term development plan known as Vision 2030.
An Economic Corridor, LAPSSET is intended to be part of Great Equatorial Land Bridge that aims to connect the East African Coast from Lamu Port to the West African Coast at Douala Port.
The LAPSSET Corridor consists of two key elements:
- A 500-metre wide Infrastructure Corridor comprising the road, railway, pipelines and power transmission projects;
- An Economic Corridor of 50 km on either sides of the Infrastructure Corridor upon which industrial investments will be situated.
Map of LAPSSET corridor highways in Kenya
- A new 32-berth port in Lamu (Kenya);
- Three inter-regional Standard Gauge Railway lines: one from Lamu to Isiolo to Nakodok (Kenya/South Sudan border) to Juba (South Sudan), another from Isiolo to Moyale (Kenya/Ethiopia border) to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and lastly, one from Nairobi to Isiolo;
- Inter-regional highways from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Nakodok to Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Moyale to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and from Lamu to Garsen (Kenya);
- A Crude Oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Nakodok and Nakodok to Juba (South Sudan), and a Product Oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Moyale (Kenya) and Moyale to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia);
- Three international Airports located in Lamu, Isiolo, and Lake Turkana region respectively;
- Three resort cities located in Lamu, Isiolo and the Lake Turkana region respectively;
- A merchant oil refinery located in Lamu;
- The multipurpose High Grand Falls Dam along Tana River;
- Fiber Optic Cables and Communication systems.
In 2013, five years after the official launch of the project, the Government of Kenya (GoK) set up LAPPSET Corridor Development Authority
to steer the project. As of July 2016, according to the LAPPSET Corridor Development Authority Report
, implementation had started on various components of the project, such as construction of: the first three berths of Lamu Port; the Isiolo-Moyale-Hawassa Road (1000km); and the power transmission lines.
Budget: A budget estimate of US$24.5 Billion, equivalent to Kshs. 2.4 Trillion at current (2016) exchange rates in construction costs, is required to implement the project components in Kenya alone. The Lamu Port alone with its 32 berths is estimated to cost approximately US$ 3.1 Billion, the Railway US$ 7.1 Billion while the Crude oil pipeline will cost a further estimate of US$ 3 Billion for Lamu to Lokichar trunk line alone.
Corridor Environmental & Natural Capital
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Corridor Socio Economic Opportunities
The Corridor during both its implementation and completion is expected to provide great socio-economic opportunities. Below are the key benefits:
- Improved accessibility: The Corridor is expected to open up northern Kenya, a vast area that has remain largely under-developed over the years. This in turn is expected to better government service delivery and increasing access to markets and cross-border trade as well as oil and mineral exploration.
- Increase in oil and mineral resources exploration: Promotion of the exploration of both oil and mineral resources such as iron ore, gold and oil and gas are already underway as recent discoveries of huge oil and water resources are expected to boost investment in the area.
- Increase of land value: The improved accessibility of regions along the corridors is expected to increase the land value in the areas along the corridor.
- Job creation: The implementation of the project itself will create jobs as well as an opportunity of skill transfer to locals, particularly in the oil and gas sector, civil engineering works and vocation skills, such as carpentry, plumbing, welding, etc.
- Reliable power supply: Areas such as Lamu have hitherto been connected to off-grid, diesel-generated electricity. The LAPSSET project entails connecting the region(s) to the more reliable National Grid, which in turn will open the area to businesses, etc.
- Improved security: LAPSSET is expected to bring security a number of areas as it will pass through regions such as Garissa, Moyale, Lodwar and Isiolo, which hitherto have been banditry-prone zones due to a proliferation of small arms due to decades of state neglect.
- Tourism growth: The Ethiopian side of LAPSSET Corridor is endowed with rich and diverse flora and fauna ranging from National Parks, lakes, mountains, plains, valleys, forests, wildlife and people with a rich cultural heritage. The same applies for Kenya where Samburu and Shaba National Reserves are expected to greatly benefit from the Corridor in regard to ease of access by tourists.
- Land grabbing/rampant corruption: The communities through whose land the LAPSSET Corridor shall pass are majorly illiterate and lacking in job skills. There has therefore been concern of their land being taken from them without adequate compensation with cases of fraudulent procurement of land being reported in areas such as Magogoni in Lamu.
- Displacement/increase in conflicts: The Ministry of Lands estimates that about 60,000 people will have to be relocated to pave way for the construction of the Corridor. This, plus the aforementioned threat of land-grabbing, can be a major cause of conflict.
- Loss of livelihoods: The Corridor passes through areas that are heavily occupied by pastoralists, thus there is fear of it block off sections of migratory routes. There is also concern that the livelihoods of the communities around Lamu who rely on fishing might be interfered with due to the interference of fish breeding sites and balance of the marine ecosystem during the construction of the Lamu port.
- Ecosystem degradation: The initial construction phase of the port is expected to cause the destruction of the coral reef at Iweni Conservation area due to logging activities, loss of two hectares of Mangrove at the Manda Bay area, which is a critical habitat for a variety of fish species, invertebrates and bird life.
- Pollution/climate change: The initial construction phase of the port is also anticipated to cause the introduction of pollutants in the area from the dredging and LAPSSET-related industrial activities. This phase is also expected to destroy a line of defense against shoreline erosion and an important carbon sink, thus increasing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
- Destruction of historic sites: Lamu is known for its historic/cultural sites, a good number of which face destruction to pave way for the construction of the Corridor’s port.
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Efforts Made (as of 31/12/2016)
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