LAPSSET:- Opening up the East Africa Region


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  • By Stephen Nzyoka M.

    Mt. Kenya times

    Since Kenya attained her independence infrastructure has been a hiccup to development in all corners of the nation. To curb such a setback, the Kenyan government has been in forefront to ensure prosperous and smooth running of the economy to compete with the rest of East Africa.

    To materialize the above, LAPSSET project has been initiated and its progress already felt in some parts of Kenya. The project aims at components such as-Lamu port, modern railway line, modern highways, good resort cities, advanced airports and target on the crude oil pipeline project.

    LAPSSET Corridor Project is a ‘Kenya Vision 2030’ flagship project set on certain objectives that can see it a success such as-

    • The project aims to cover over half of the country with a planned investment resource equivalent to half of Kenya’s GDP for the core investment alone. It is geared to inject slightly less than 2% to 3% gross domestic product into the Kenyan economy.
    • The contribution of the project to the Kenyan economic growth going by the range of Statistics estimated 8% to 10% of GDP will be generated. This will eventually attract investments for further growth.
    • This view is supported by the fact that new investments of the magnitude of LAPSSET Corridor Project in hitherto low developed areas usually yield higher growth figures.

    This project will have greater positive impact to the Kenyan people in all areas of residence especially where farming is practiced hence curbing food insecurity that continue to plague a large part of the nation’s population.

    The Kenyan Northern corridor which is seen to have been abandoned for many years will now capitalize on the growing of French beans to increase exports from this marginalized area. This will see the people in the region employ use of overhead irrigation since the area receives low inadequate rainfall.

    The use of cattle hides has been in high usage not only in Kenya but also in other parts of the world. The LAPSSET project is geared to help the livestock sector in Kenya to increase cattle products such as hides and skins which is very useful in the leather processing industries.

    The Tana River Delta which experienced inter-community clashes can now capitalize in cultivation of Asian vegetables; Kenya can capitalize on growing global consumption of Asian vegetables to increase cultivation of courgettes, eggplants, and onions. This will by then make the people of Tana Delta busy and avoid community clashes that may trigger less development, fear and retarded growth.

    Most of the area in Kenya receives average rainfall and therefore through this project Kenyan farmers in arid and semi-arid areas such as some parts of the Kambaland such as lower eastern and most parts of Kitui can employ planting of citrus fruits and drought resistant crops such as sorghum and millet. The sorghum has a commercial use in the beer manufacturing here in Kenya and also international breweries.

    Kenya can as well venture in the mass growing of globally consumed avocados to increase fresh exports to the developed western countries. This is bound to bring a positive growth in the Kenyan economy as well as raising the living standards of the farmers. Fresh pineapple exports and pineapple processing locally and regionally will also be an added advantage of the LAPSSET project. This will open an opportunity to the people to practice this to average the Kenyan revenue.

    Other opportunities opened in the project is also an added advantage to the pastoral communities to have a good market and the government buying their animals direct in friendly prices for slaughtering. The meat can be consumed locally and exported. The mango growing communities will have an opportunity to sell their produce to the few processing industries.

    Other long term economic opportunities includes- maize cultivation and milling to supply a growing local market for maize, Investing in Kenya’s rice cultivating and milling to support import substitution and take advantage of Kenya’s growing local consumption, Expansion of cotton production to support Kenya’s local textile industry and cotton exports through the Mombasa Port and Lamu port both in long term and short term respectively.

    The fruits of the project has already been seen where the Turbi – Moyale (Part 2 of Isiolo – Moyale – Addis Ababa road has been constructed, this is meant to open up the northern frontier district and join it to the rest of the counties. The Lamu port police has been built as well as the Lamu metropolis. Most of the arid areas in Kenya have received borehole drilling projects to provide water for the domestic use.

    The project has also led to employment after the first phase of the standard railway line started. The gauge modern railway now has covered a vast region since it started leading to massive employment.

    The profiles of the counties has increased since this project started where most of the areas now are served by good passable roads as well as the establishment of the rural areas electrification authority. Most of the remote areas are connected to electricity and economic standards raised since young people can venture in small scale businesses easily to earn a living. Since inauguration of this project, private sector investment has increased. Currently, there are a number of private sector involvements particularly in the energy, water and railway sub-sectors. More private sector investments are being explored in roads, railways, ports and water services.

    This LAPSSET is bound to stabilize the Kenyan economy in accordance to the millennium development goals as well. Kenyans have all it takes to make use of the resources that come their way.

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