Kenya’s sleepy Island of Lamu roars to life thanks to big national and regional infrastructure projects running up to $27 billion

Boats at the Lamu Island.
  • Lamu has become a magnate for big national and regional infrastructure projects whose total cost add up to about Sh2.7 trillion.
  • Over the past couple of years, the national government has pumped billions of shillings in undertaking several infrastructural projects aimed at boosting both road and sea transport not only in Lamu County, but the whole country and the region.
  • The bulk of this cost is taken up by the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South-Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project.

Kenya’s sleepy Island of Lamu has woken up with gusto and is now roaring with life thanks to increase economic activity in the area.

Over the past couple of years, the national government has pumped billions of shillings in undertaking several infrastructural projects aimed at boosting both road and sea transport not only in Lamu County, but the whole country and the region.

Construction and rehabilitation works of some of the projects — ranging from port berths, roads, jetties and airports — have already commenced while others are in the pipeline.

Lamu has also become a magnate for big national and regional infrastructure projects whose total cost add up to about Sh2.7 trillion.

The bulk of this cost is taken up by the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South-Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project.

The Lapsset project, which kicked off in 2012, when former President Mwai Kibaki visited Lamu and laid the foundation stone, is being set up in Kililana area in Lamu West. Work commenced in mid 2016.

The project plan includes a 32-berth port, transportation hubs for rail, highway and international airports in Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar, an oil pipeline from South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia to Lamu Port, an oil refinery and three resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu and Turkana.

So far, construction of the first three berths is 70 per cent complete and will cost Sh48 billion.

The cost includes the physical construction of the three Lapsset terminals plus other activities such as preparation of the turning bay, dredging and reclamation works as well as navigation of sea waves.

During his recent tour to the Lamu Port site, Lapsset Corridor Development Authority Chairman Titus Ibui said the first berths will be ready by June this year with first ship expected to dock in Lamu Port for the first time in November. The two other berths are expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

Completion of the Lamu Port is expected to open up the region for trade and industrialisation as well as improve the general transportation of goods and services in Lamu, Kenya, East Africa, the Middle East and the world at large.

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