By Martin Wakaba – an aspiring entrepreneur who has several startup projects
After Uganda chose to export her oil through Tanzania, and in the process dumping Kenya as an alternative route, President Uhuru Kenyatta inked a deal with the neighboring Ethiopia. The deal will see the land locked country export her oil through the port of Lamu from Addis Ababa. The pact that was signed by the Kenyan President and the Ethiopian Prime Minister – Hailemariam Desalegn, comes in the backdrop of the failed venture to have Uganda use the Kenyan route via Hoima for exportation purposes. Tanzania’s Tanga port may have been the chosen destination route by the Ugandan regime, but Lamu has scored a huge and vital point after the announcement of the deal. In essence, the deal has larger implications within the region as it vindicates Lamu as an integration point. As an initiative under the Lapsset project, the joint venture is part of the regional efforts to have the East African bloc use the Lamu port for exportation. Strategically, that places Kenya as a regional kingpin as regards movement of goods. Moreover, such a move enhances the flexibility and viability of Kenya’s policy within the region.
With Ethiopia having set sights on the production of gas as well as its exportation, the need to have infrastructural developments that link Kenya to its Northern neighbor makes sense. The overall nature of the deal not only benefits the energy sector, but also provides a chance for initiating diverse projects and investment ventures. The Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor not only offers a regional partnership; it as well expands the scope of regional investment. With a population of more than 100 million people, the exports by Ethiopia are projected to scale up the Kenyan market. Furthermore, the linkage offers a chance for investing in the diverse and dynamic Ethiopian expanse.
Locally, the deal will have positive implications on the largely marginalized region of the North. Essentially, the construction of the oil pipeline will link the Northern region to the commercial hubs of the country. Ideally, the intended program entails the construction of a road that stretches to Turbi and Moyale, and another that links Merille and Marsabit. On the whole, the long-term idea is to connect Mombasa and Addis Ababa. This way, flow of goods shall be an integral part as well as the mushrooming of mini-business hubs along the intended highway. Besides, Moyale shall become a key point in the process by acting as a border post that links the two countries. Additionally, Isiolo will turn out to be a critical player within the local matrix due to the creation of a second corridor. The intended creation of a resort city in Isiolo will also be an added value to the region. In actuality, these projects will open up the Northern region of Kenya.
Kenyan cabinet secretary for Foreign affairs Amina Mohamed, Ethiopian Foreign minister Tedros Adhanom signs Bi-National Commission agreement as Prime Minister Desalegn & President Kenyatta watches
Moreover, the deal encompasses various aspects of governance that brings about direct implications to the Kenyan populace. The larger details of the deal as well incorporate four other different pacts that include health, education, and collaboration in sports as well as cross-border livestock. Locally, the disputes between the warring communities of the two nations shall be suppressed in a larger proportion. Furthermore, it will increase the cultural association between these communities. With time, the collaboration may stretch to other vital aspects such as security, urban development, immigration, public service, science and technology, as well as trade and investment.