Kenya to ‘fast-track’ Lapsset projects to woo Ethiopia

Kenya and Ethiopia have agreed to fight insecurity, review tariffs and fast-track completion of infrastructure projects to facilitate seamless flow of cargo from Lamu to Ethiopia.

The two governments on Thursday held a meeting during which Nairobi assured Addis Ababa of a functional Port of Lamu, with a superstructure, cargo yard, operational equipment, port workshop, warehouses, office space, and accommodation facilities.

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will rework port tariffs as Ethiopia puts in place plans to start using the port the month.

The tariffs are one of the conditions Addis asked to be considered after Kenya assured them of security on the Lamu Port, South Sudan Ethiopia transport (Lapsset) corridor.

On the sidelines of the meeting with the Ethiopian delegation and Kenya on Thursday, the two countries agreed to work on a diplomatic and other approaches aimed at facilitating the use of the port of Lamu by Ethiopia for the importation of fertiliser to position the corridor as a strategic trade hub for the region.

Lapsset Corridor Development Authority (LCDA) Chairman Ali Mbogo and chief executive Stephen Ikua assured traders of their security and free flow of cargo.

“The Lapsset management has made a request to Kenyan government to consolidate the budget of all Lapsset components with a view to fast-tracking implementation of the missing links and therein improve the prospects of the Lapsset corridor as the preferred route for transport and transit cargo destined to and from Ethiopia and South Sudan,” said Mr Mbogo.

“We have met with all security agents along the corridor from Lamu to the Moyale One-Stop Border Post, where we have set measures to secure cargo, vehicles and implementers of different pending projects.”

Kenya and Ethiopia have constituted a joint technical committee to address key issues derailing the commercialisation of the Lapsset corridor.

The two countries have committed to a collective action to enable the use of the Port of Lamu as the entry point for the importation of cargo destined for Ethiopia.

Ethiopia and South Sudan have initiated the process for formalisation of engagement with Kenya on the delivery of the Lapsset project.

The Lapsset Ethiopia –Kenya JTC) convened in Addis Ababa concurrently with the 36th Session of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on February 21-23, and made several resolutions, including upgrading Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo Road to bitumen standard and construction of Isiolo-Maralal-Lokichar road.

Source: The East African

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