KENYA AND ETHIOPIA DEEPEN ECONOMIC AND TRADE RELATIONS THROUGH JOINT DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAPSSET CORRIDOR

Kenya and Ethiopia have in the recent past accelerated their efforts to integrate with one another through trade and investments, training their sights on the mutual benefits that regional integration brings and at the same time each country pulling its own weight to the convergence point through development of infrastructure projects, investment projects and sound policies and incentives that create a preferred investment climate.

The LAPSSET Corridor Project has proven to be a strategic focal point for both countries. During the Kenya-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum that took place in Addis Ababa from 1st to 2nd March 2019, H.E, President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ethiopia) reaffirmed their commitment to fully implement the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project as a Key enabler of both economies.

In May 2018the Kenya and Ethiopia agreed to jointly supervise and inspect the construction of Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo-Moyale and Moyale-Hawassa-Addis Ababa road networks as well as the Railway from Addis Ababa to Nairobi along the LAPSSET Corridor Route. Additionally, Ethiopia is set to build an office in Lamu, giving clear signs of its intention to shift some of its logistics operations to the Kenyan coast, with the Kenyan government having committed to formally acquire and set aside land in Lamu Port to enable Ethiopia set up its logistics facilities.

Ethiopia is on the rise, setting up World-class sustainable Industrial eco-parks aimed at coordinated production along value chains and dedicated for specific  sectors such as textile & apparel, leather & leather products, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, vehicles assembly, Food Processing, electronics, paper & allied products, chemicals, Construction Materials & House hold appliance manufacturing. Construction of the Hawassa-Moyale road is currently ongoing giving strong indications that Lamu Port will serve as an export point for Ethiopia’s Agro and Industrial products.

Moreover plans are underway to transform Moyale town in to a cross-border trade hub, speaking during the Kenya-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum, LAPSSET Director General & CEO, Silvester Kasuku said that financing has already been put in place to undertake master planning of the cross border Trade Hub that will comprise of commercial areas, Industrial Parks, Free Economic Zones and the service sector. Currently a One Stop Border Post has been set up at the Moyale border along the Isiolo-Moyale-Hawassa road; consolidating clearing, customs and immigration between the two countries. All these are plans resulting from the Special Purpose Agreement signed between the two countries in November 2012 that looks at cooperation in the areas of Trade, Investment, Infrastructure, Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods.