Transport Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia together with the Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya, Meles Alam and South Sudan’s Undersecretary in the Ministry of Transport, Capt David Martin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on LAPSSET.
Ambassador Alam was quick to allay fears that the peace deal with Eritrea in 2018, might backtrack the LAPSSET project.
Alam said, “However, our presence in this meeting testifies the full commitment the Ethiopian government has towards implementation of this project.
“We have also built industrial zones in the Southern parts of Ethiopia. We are now looking forward for the inauguration of the first berth of the Lamu Port,” he said.
He emphasized that the southern part of Ethiopia will depend on the Lamu Port. Ethiopia has constructed over 500 kilometres of tarmac road from Moyale, as part of the LAPSSET project.
Raila Odinga the African Union High Representative on Infrastructure witnessed the signing of the MOU. He said, “A two-day meeting of technical committee was held here in Mombasa. It was convened under the auspice of Africa Union and it was basically to give this project (LAPSSET) the impetus that it can be implemented quickly.”
He added that the project was crucial to spurring trade and economic growth in the region and as such could not be stopped. He went on to reveal Phase II of the project will be a road network connecting East Africa to West Africa.
LAPSSET was launched on March 2nd 2012 by the then Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.
Of concern is that despite the Lamu Port being a crucial facility in the South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, it is yet to be commissioned. The port was to be commissioned in December, but everything was shelved to ensure that regional Heads of State attend.
Berth number 1 at the Lamu Port had been completed at the time.