Sylvester Okumu, Director General of Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport LAPSSET explained to the 2017 Women in Energy Awards and Conference participants that LAPSSET is a 2,000 km railroad linking port-to-port corridors in Africa. The preliminary engineering designs for the railway have been completed. LAPSSET is funded by Bilateral Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding MOUs.
Additional aspects of the LAPSSET project include:
- Port of Lamu
- Construction of 508 km of Isiolo-Moyale road—from the Kenya-Ethiopia border, Ethiopia will continue road for another 500 km creating a 1,000 km link between the border nations
- A 360 km road to be constructed linking Kenya and South Sudan
- Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo road for which funding has been secured
- The road is expected to the completed in 2021
- Crude oil pipeline from Turkana to Lamu
- Product oil pipeline from Lamu to Ethiopia
- Expansion of the Isiolo International Airport
- Expansion of Lamu Airport
- In 2012 there were 3 flights per week, currently there are 7 flights a day
The Port of Lamu is the second strategic port in Kenya and largest port on the east coast of Africa. It has a capacity depth of 18m compared to 12m-15m in Mombasa. It is an off shore port with 32 berth ports made of reclaimed land. The Port of Lamu is funded by the Government of Kenya and uses Kenyan labour.
For lack of capacity, the largest cargo ships cannot port in Mombasa. Those ships generally go to the Middle East where the bulk cargo is broken up and returned to the east African ports in medium ships. With the Port of Lamu, the largest cargo ships can be broken in Kenya, eliminating costs associated with crossing the Suez Canal. The Port of Lamu is intertwined with the largest special economic zone, larger than Nairobi. This will enable Kenya to build the largest industrial base not only in Kenya but in the world. The new platform will attract business and global logistics for manufacturers.
The role of women and youth in LAPSSET project adds value for the country. Their participation and development on the LAPSSET project is an indicator that the Kenyan economy is being optimized. Lamu County has been awarded 1,000 scholarships over 10 years to supply the project with local engineers.