Lamu, KENYA: The new Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor-Lapsset has received a 1.93 Million US Dollar grant equivalent to Sh.197.5 Million from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility-NEPAD-IPPF.
The grant was signed between LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority-LCDA and the African Development Bank-AfDB which hosts the facility.
The NEPAD-IPPF is a Multi-donor Special Fund hosted by the African Development Bank with financial support from Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Norway and Spain and supports African countries, through grants, to translate major African continental infrastructure initiatives.
Its also mandated with the preparation of regional infrastructure projects such as Lamu Port Project in order to mobilize investment financing for implementation.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement, Lapsset Corridor Development Authority Director General Silvester Kasuku thanked the African Development Bank for the established work relationship that is geared towards promoting the implementation and operationalizing of the Lamu Port Project.
“The facility under the NEPAD-IPPF could not have come at a better time considering the construction works of the Lamu Port is ongoing and the decision of government is to enable the private sector to have a strong footing in the management of Port business in Lamu. The facility will go a long way in preparing the project for bankability and to bring on board transaction advisory services with the view of getting private sector operations on board,” said Kasuku.
Kasuku said Kenya is at the forefront of regional transformation and integration using the LAPSSET Corridor Project and that such a move will strengthen investments and business within the region and make better the integration process of the region as envisioned by the African Union Commission -AUC.
He termed the Lapsset as a silver lining that will connect Lamu and Kenya to the East Africa and the entire world and that athe moment,their main objective was to speed up the project.
“The Lapsset must run smoothly and stay consistent.That can only happen with adequate funding.We appreciate the grant we have received from NEPAD-IPPF.It will go a long way in packaging of the Port Project for Investment,” he said.
The African Development Bank’s regional Director Gabriel Negetu said the partnership between AfDB and LCDA comes at a time when AfDB is stepping up pace by focusing on five priority areas crucial for accelerating Africa’s transformation majorly;Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and lastly to Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.
“Africa needs to accelerate growth and structured transformation in order to take the bulk of the population into employment. Critical to the attainment of this structural transformation is regional integration. In order to promote regional integration, investments in both hard and physical infrastructure along with Institutional strengthening remains paramount,” said Negetu.
The grant also comes at a time when there is dire need for transaction advisory services and related technical assistance to package Lamu Port for investments.
“This will make the project factual to attract investors for operation of the first three berths and construction and operation of the remaining 29 berths.AfDB will continue to support NEPAD-IPPF to prepare bankable Regional Infrastructure Projects such as the Lamu Port Project,” said Negetu.
The Sh.2.5 TrillionLamu Port Project has 32 Deep Sea Berths estimated to cost US $ 5 billion.
So far the construction of the first three berths is already ongoing at the port site in Kililana, Lamu.
The first 3 berths are fully funded by the Government of Kenya, while the remaining 29 berths will be funded through public-private partnerships-PPP.
The first berth is expected to be completed by July 2018 and December 2020 for the next two other berths.
The Lamu Port Project is part of the LAPSSET Corridor Program, which is stipulated within the Kenya Vision 2030 Strategy.
On March 2, 2012, the government of Kenya undertook the ground breaking for LAPSSET Corridor Program at Lamu Port Site.
To facilitate the project investment viability, several preliminary and support infrastructure such as the Port headquarters, Port Police Station, Electric Power Connection to the National Grid and Water Reticulation Networks have already been secured in-place.
Once fully completed, Lamu Port will provide a second Sea Port and Transport Corridor Gateway link to serve the expanding import and export cargo base, including the new hinterlands of Northern Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
This undertaking will also ease congestion on Mombasa Port and the Northern Transport Corridor.
Equally, this will also play a key role in integrating Africa as the transshipment Port and gateway link to the East African Region.