The Kenyan government is currently in need of 2.5 trillion shillings to fund the Lapsset project and has turned the focus on the African Union (AU) and other regional investors to help raise the funds.
The port project, which is known as the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset project), was launched during Mwai Kibaki’s regime and has been stuck due to financial constraints and lack of political good-will.
Countries that were involved have now shifted their focus on other projects and have left the Lapsset project crawling on its belly.
The African Union High Representative on Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga is currently seen to be pushing for the revival of the Lapsset project which was first launched in 2012.
Mr. Odinga held a meeting with the Lapsset Corridor Development Authority, where plans to come up with the funding strategy through involving all stakeholders were discussed.
“AU’s special envoy plans to convene a high-level meeting with the countries that fall along Africa’s equatorial land bridge later in the year with an aim of forming these crucial transport infrastructure linkages within the continent,” Lapsset said in a statement.
Raila Odinga pointed out that the Lapsset project will provide an opportunity of boosting the social-economic integration of African regions through infrastructure development and trade.
“Regional infrastructure projects such as the Lapsset are strong enablers of Africa’s continental integration and these coupled with the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, harmonization of monetary policies and other standards such as customs, stabilization of tariff and non-tariff barriers, statistics and labor market information and improved business climate, will attract global trade and investments in Africa,” Odinga said.
The project is supposed to have 32 completed berths estimated to cost 319.8 billion shillings but the Kenyan government is supposed to put up 3 berths at an estimated cost of 71.5 billion shillings.
The AU has the Lapsset project under its nine Presidential Infrastructure Championship Initiatives (PICI).
Respective African Heads of State and Government, Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) are among the stakeholders who are supposed to champion the Lapsset project.