- August 8, 2019
- Posted by: Benson Thuita
- Category: Regional Integration, Trade and Investment
The African Union Commission’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga during a meeting with the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority (LAPSSET) Board and Management held on 6th August, 2019 noted that the LAPSSET Corridor Project had the potential to boost Africa’s regional social-economic integration.
The Chairman, Board Members, Director General/CEO and Management of LAPSSET Corridor Development paid a courtesy call on the AU High Representative
- Brief him on the progress made in Implementing LAPSSET Corridor Projects in Partner States (Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan),
- Discuss the AU Policy direction on implementing Regional Integration Infrastructure Projects.
- Discuss ways of strengthening support for LAPSSET Projects from AU and other international development institutions.
Hon. Raila stated that a strong case has been made to the AU on the LAPSSET Corridor Project’s strategic position to connect not only Ethiopia and South Sudan, but also connecting to Central African Republic (Bangui) and Cameroon, terminating at Port of Douala. This forms an equatorial land bridge of both road and rail across the African continent, connecting the Indian Ocean at Lamu Port, to the Atlantic Ocean. Through such infrastructure development, new enormous markets will be established growing intra-African trade that is currently at a low of 15%.
To put it in to perspective, the Special envoy noted that intra-regional trade by Europe, Asia and North America stood at 70%, 50% and 40% respectively. The lack of sufficient regional infrastructure in Africa contributes to such a low intra-regional trade of African goods and services due to the high cost of transport and logistics in accessing these markets. For example, for Kenya to transport tea or coffee to Bangui, transportation of these products will have to be shipped to the Western Cape through the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, making it easier for goods in Europe to access such a market quicker and at a lower cost.
The 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.
Regional infrastructure projects such as the LAPSSET Corridor Project 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.
The LAPSSET Corridor Project is among the nine Presidential Infrastructure Championship Initiatives (PICI) under the AU. Such projects are championed by respective African Heads of State and Government. It is also a Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), a strategic continental initiative which has the support of all African countries, for mobilizing resources to transform Africa through modern infrastructure.
Currently the construction of the 1st of the three berth of Lamu Port is 100% complete with the remaining two expected to be completed in 2020. Massive private sector interests have been registered to develop and operate the additional 29 berths as well as develop the new Lamu Port Industrial City making Lamu Port an ideal port for exporting locally manufactured goods.