31 July 2014

Kenya: Regional Leaders Explore Joint Financing Option for LAPSSET

Nairobi — Regional leaders were today hosted for a summit at State House, Nairobi, by President Uhuru Kenyatta to explore joint financing options for the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project.

The leaders who attended the consultative meeting were President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and President Salva Kiir Mayardit South Sudan.

In a statement read by President Kenyatta at the end of the meeting, the leaders noted that the seven components of the LAPSSET project require an estimated $24.5 Billion (Kshs. 2 Trillion) - with the Lamu Port alone with its 32 projected berths costing $3.1 Billion.

"With the large sums involved, it was clear to us that a joint approach that is innovative will be required for implementation," the leaders said.

During the meeting, the leaders explored the complexities of shortening the period between project conceptualization and the realization of a sustainable financial model that will deliver implementation.

"We sought to learn from the African Development Bank's Africa50 Infrastructure Fund approach, and how our joint efforts can help make a compelling business case to private sector players," they said.

The meeting is the latest chapter in a deepening integration agenda that is focused on opening up the region to trade and investment and ensuring that its enterprises are globally competitive. LAPSSET is an integrated and transformative infrastructure project that is expected to provide regional economic integration and interconnectivity.

It is also expected to generate the investment and trade flows that are crucial to ensuring the region delivers the shared prosperity that is the key to decent livelihoods and sustained peace and security, the leaders said.

The four regional leaders said their discussion was especially informed by the upcoming Africa-USA Summit on 4 - 7 August 2014 that will allow them a chance to engage with American investors on the LAPSSET project.

"This is a continuation of similar engagements that are being held with investors from across the Middle East and the Indian Ocean Rim," they said.

The leaders said they also dwelt on the need for regional peace and security to provide the conditions in which the LAPSSET project and many others will deliver the full benefits of growth and equity to the region's progress.

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