[h=1]Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project[/h] A section of Northern Corridor under construction in Naivasha, Rift Valley Province in Kenya. The roads, railways and maritime transportation systems in the EAC region are, on average, in a poor state as are the railways and inland waterways transport systems. Picture/Anthony Kamau By PETER LEFTIE, email@example.com Posted Friday, July 22 2011 at 18:50 Kenya is on the verge of rolling out a multi-trillion shilling project to exploit the vast resources in Coast and Northern Kenya that will catapult the country into a medium income economy by 2030. Transport Minister Amos Kimunya was on Friday upbeat that the construction of Lamu Port and the transport corridor through Isiolo, Moyale and Turkana will open up the marginalised Northern Kenya, linking it to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia. We will be engaging the Cabinet next week because we feel their input is important. This is a massive project as it is will open up the newly independent South Sudan. I will talk about the project extensively after I have briefed the Cabinet and received its input, the minister told Saturday Nation. Transport corridor The minister is expected to brief the Cabinet on findings of a feasibility study on the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor on Tuesday. The projects main component is the Lamu Port, which will have a transport corridor linking it with Ethiopia and South Sudan. Besides the port, the project also incorporates an oil refinery at Lamu and a 1,720km standard gauge railway line to Juba to handle high speed trains with a capacity of up to 160 kilometres per hour. Also envisioned is a two-lane highway from Lamu through Isiolo to Nakodok, a pipeline to transport crude oil from South Sudan to a refinery at Lamu, three airports at Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichogio and resort cities at Lamu, Isiolo and on the shores of Lake Turkana. Once the railway line is complete by the year 2030, it will handle up to 30 trains to South Sudan and 52 to Ethiopia daily. The project will also see the transformation of Lamu Island into a metropolis. According to the feasibility study the Lapsset project, once complete, will link the country to its two northern neighbours Ethiopia and South Sudan, opening up the region to immense socio-economic development along the transport corridor, especially in the northern, eastern and northern-eastern parts of the country and promote cross-border trade. The study puts the total cost of the project at $23 billion, roughly Sh2 trillion. The port, comprising of 20 berths, is expected to be complete by 2030 at a cost of $3.5 billion. The projected cost of the railway line is $7.1 billion while the highway is expected to cost another $1.4 billion and the oil pipeline $4 billion. The resort cities at Lamu, Isiolo and on the shores of Lake Turkana will cost $1.2 billion while the oil refinery will cost $2.5 billion. Additional infrastructure including power, water and communication facilities will cost an extra $2.5 billion. The port, which will sit on 1,000 acres, is expected to make Kenya a trans-shipment hub because of its deep waters and ability to accommodate large vessels. The brains behind the project anticipate that the economic gains to be brought by the Lapsset Corridor far outweigh its projected Sh2 trillion overall cost. The experts estimate that once operational, the project will push the countrys Gross Domestic Project from 4.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent by the year 2020. Export of cash crops The direct economic impact will include huge savings on transport as a result of the new railway line, highway and pipeline. Indirectly, the project will create huge job opportunities and promote value addition, especially in the processing of agricultural products. The experts also envisage a huge increase in the export of cash crops and international tourist arrivals in the three planned resort cities, which remain inaccessible due to a poor road network and insecurity. The new access to South Sudan and Ethiopia will also foster regional economic development and growth through facilitation of trade between citizens of the affected countries, besides strategically positioning Lamu as the port of choice for South Sudan. The study proposes that the Kenya Ports Authority be the responsible agency while Lamu County, once established, would be responsible for transforming the island town into the envisaged Lamu Metropolis. It is further proposed that the Kenya National Highways Authority be the responsible agency for the construction of the highway while the Kenya Railways Corporation would take charge of the construction of the railway line. The Kenya Airports Authority will be responsible for the construction of the three airports. The study proposes that private investors be brought on board to spearhead the construction of the pipeline and refinery while the resort cities would be managed through the public-private partnerships coordinated by the Ministry of Tourism. The study urges close cooperation between the Kenyan government and those of South Sudan and Ethiopia, which are set to benefit directly from the investments. It also calls for close collaboration between the Kenya government and international donors as well as the private sector, which is expected to fund some of the projects through public-private sector partnerships arrangements. Daily Nation: - News |Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project 24th July 11 Controversial Lake Natron soda ash project still in limbo Florian Kaijage Soda ash project in Lake Natron, Arusha Region, could face further delays to take off owing to lack of required clearance from environmental authorities. Soda ash is a basic raw material used in the processing and chemical industries President Jakaya Kikwete has directed the ash be extracted to benefit the nation but the directive could serve little to have the project implemented because the investors, Tata from India, and site developer, the National Development Corporation (NDC) were yet to meet set conditions on technical matters. The lake straddles Tanzania/Kenya border in Loliondo District. On a tour of the ministry of Industries and Trade in April the President queried the delay and directed the project be speeded up for the benefit the country, the same way as neighbouring Kenya benefits from soda ash from Lake Magadi. The project to extract sodium carbonate, which at initial proposal attracted attention from environmentalists, was halted in 2009 as it was feared it could cause a big risk on the lake, especially the bird specie, Lesser Flamingo, which breeds at Lake Natron. NDC was quoted last October as saying it had picked the Institute of Resources Assessment (IRA) of the University Dar es Salaam University to carry out social and environmental impact assessment. NDC Managing Director Gideon Nasari then said the assessment would have assisted to clear the air over the project. NEMCs position However, the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) told The Guardian on Sunday this week that it was yet to receive the ordered second assessment report, almost 12 months down the line. A written statement from NEMCs Director of environmental impact assessment, Ignas Mchallo reads: The Council has not received any environmental impact assessment report after the first one. The statement adds that Government has the obligation to make available specific information such as hydrological data and the Lake Natron Ramsar site Management Plan, wishing to undertake development in the area. There are also other things like ecological aspects that both the developer and the government need to acquire in-depth understanding of ahead of development interventions. The Government commissioned a study under the Vice - Presidents Office to furnish the information that would be needed in reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment report for this specific project. These are yet to be concluded, said Mchallo. NEMC says further that in addition to studies that the government may undertake, the developer was also to carry out both scientific and technical studies that might be required to come up with acceptable environmental impact assessment. Second EAI NEMC says four specific factors were to be made clear in the second assessment as follows; Key plant process issues such as the chemistry, quality and quantity of the products (both the commodities and wastes) and related type and significance of impacts. The second factor was the project components which were not covered in the first EIA studies like the access roads, the food chain, the hydrology, the lake water chemistry and the socio-economic structures of the communities living in that area. Other two key factors are: sitting of the plant and its other establishments considering impacts of lighting, noise, discharges and other pertinent features as well as cost-benefit analysis to include the tourism potential in the long term. Tata of India finally abandoned the project whereby it had planned to build the plant on the shore of Lake Natron following criticism from conservationists. The company was expected to invest $400million to extract estimated 500,000 tonnes of soda ash from the lake per annum and expected to employ 1,200 construction workers and 152 permanent employees. According to NEMC, Lake Natron is a Ramsar site and home to 70 percent of the worlds population of the Lesser Flamingo. There are special conditions that make these birds flourish in that place, some of which include wilderness, breeding habitat and food chain. It is estimated that there are 2.5 million of Lesser Flamingo at Lake Natron, which is the only regular breeding area in East Africa. They feed on a blue green algae, known as spirulina. The lake has a shallow depth of less than three metres (10 feet) and varies in width depending on its water level which changes due to high evaporation, leaving high levels of salts and other minerals. The extraction of soda ash would among other thing involve construction of a factory, during which it would be pumping a large amount of water from lake to the factory and adding fresh water to the lake, a fact raising fears of affecting the lakes level of salinity. Deputy Minister for Industries and Trade Lazaro Nyalandu told The Guardian on Sunday this week that the project could not take off until all matters raised by environmentalists were cleared. I am aware of the challenges facing this project but we must strike a balance between the economical benefits and environmental requirements, Nyalandu said during an interview. GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY Controversial Lake Natron soda ash project still in limbo MY TAKE: The minister of Tourism Hon. Balala made a herrondous acclamation on the decision made by Tanzania govt not to build a road across the Serengeti, however he forgot his own backyard's marine ecosystem is about to be destroyed! This is fun actually or let say double standards! I hope these dudes up North will put self interests politics aside and be real! Plus their media ofcourse (Nationmedia)! The same applies to Lake Natron soda ash crocodile tears while Magadi soda ash project from Lake Magadi is destroying the same lesser Flamingo niche, Also the hunting business in Tanzania vs their subotage of CITES one sell of the ivories permission! All these are only of interest to Kenya conservationists cause they are transboundary resources and a feelig of loosing out haunts them and nothing of conservation principles! They really need to grow up!