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Lamu Port Construction officially launched
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 16:23:23 CST by kwpnews

President Mwai Kibaki (c), Meles Zenawi Prime Minister  of Ethiopia (l) and South Sudan Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit jointly lay foundation stones for the new Lamu Port Headquarters at Lamu county 

LAMU (KWP) - President Mwai Kibaki, jointly with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, today officially launched the construction of Lamu Port.

Speaking in Lamu County during the colourful ground-breaking ceremony that also marked the beginning of the Lamu Port -South Sudan -Ethiopia Transport Project (LAPSSET), President Kibaki assured the people of Lamu that their concerns regarding land, environment, cultural heritage and fishing grounds will be addressed.

The President emphasized that the rights of the people of Lamu, like those of all other Kenyans, are enshrined in the Constitution and are, therefore, inalienable.

"I have instructed the relevant Government ministries and agencies to move with speed and ensure that these concerns are addressed as soon as possible," the President said.

In this connection, President Kibaki directed ministries concerned to train and re-skill an initial 1,000 youth in readiness for taking up job opportunities that will be created by the port and the corridor.

He also directed that a technical institute be constructed as an integral part of the port development to ensure continuous training and re-skilling of local people, neighbouring local communities will also benefit from port and corridor development dividends in areas such as provision of water, electricity, roads and new schools.

The President further ordered that issuance of title deeds to residents of Lamu County and other parts of the coastal region to be fast-tracked.

Said the President: "In addition, I want to assure you that my Government will compensate those affected by the development of the corridor in accordance with the law."

The Head of State pointed out that while developing the Lamu port, all necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that there is minimal interference with the delicate ecosystem and cultural heritage.

He said adequate expertise and technology must be deployed to ensure the desired development is achieved while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability.

On Kenya's development plans, President Kibaki said the LAPSSET project marks yet another important milestone in the regional infrastructure development agenda.

"Indeed, LAPSSET is among the flagship projects that seek to bring major transformation of our economies. Immense benefits will accrue fromnLAPSSET," President Kibaki said.

In addition to addressing the transport challenges facing the Northern, Eastern and Coastal parts of Kenya, the President noted that the transport corridor will generate employment and act as a catalyst for increased productivity in various sectors of the economy.

In this regard, President Kibaki encouraged Kenyans and potential investors to take advantage of the numerous investment opportunities availed under the project that will become Kenya's second national
transport corridor.

The President, at the same time, observed that by providing the landlocked countries of the region with a direct and dependable route to the sea, the transport Corridor will link South Sudan, Ethiopia, as well as the entire East and Central African region to international markets.

In so doing, the Head of State said, the transport corridor will stimulate the growth of regional economies through promotion of trade and other productive activities.

He further said that through the use of labour intensive methods, LAPSSET projects will generate massive employment opportunities for the region.

"This Project is expected to play a critical role in enhancing the economic livelihood of over 167 million people in our region," the Head of State said.

President Kibaki thanked the Governments of South Sudan and Ethiopia for firmly supporting this project, saying the presence of President Kiir and Prime Minister zenawi at the launch is a testimony of the importance they attach to the construction of the LAPSSET project.

During the occasion, President Kibaki disclosed that the Kenya Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of South Sudan to develop an oil pipeline from Juba to Lamu.

"This is an important component of LAPSSET. Moreover, in order to boost power requirements for LAPSSET projects, Kenya has signed an agreement with the government of Ethiopia for negotiated electricity supply," President Kibaki added.

On security, the President said the region will continue to work with our neighbors closely to ensure that any security challenges to development endeavors are neutralized.

He welcomed the progress made in stabilizing Somalia, saying Kenya stands ready to help her Somali brothers and sisters as they seek peace and prosperity during the reconstruction of their country.

Said the President: "I have no doubt that many years of peace and prosperity lie ahead for our entire region. Indeed, the presence of my brother President Salva Kiir, less than a year after his country attained independence, is testimony of the possibilities of peace, self-determination and progress despite many years of strife."

President Kibaki also took the opportunity to thank the African Union, COMESA, EAC, SADC, as well as development partners among them the Africa Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation for supporting the LAPSSET project.

"I have no doubt that this day will go down in history as one of the defining moments, when we made a major stride to connect our people to the many socio-economic opportunities that lie ahead," President Kibaki said.

Speaking during the occasion, Prime Minister Zenawi expressed optimism that the regional infrastructure project will propel the three countries' collective development forward.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister further noted that LAPSSET project will reaffirmed Kenya's position as a gateway to East and Central Africa.

He added that the transport project will help expedite the vision of integration into reality.

"LAPSSET will not only better link our economies but also bring our people together," Prime Minister Zenawi said.

On his part, President Kiir congratulated President Kibaki and the people of Kenya for the realization of the dream transport project.

President Kiir added that the transport project will create export opportunities for the three countries and enhance national and regional stability.

He thanked the Government of Kenya for playing a key role the Sudan peace process that culminated in the birth of the young nation of South Sudan last year.

President Kiir, once again, reaffirmed his Government's total support of the LAPSSET project.

Other speakers included Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Transport Minister Amos Kimunya, area MP Fahim Twaha, Lamu East MP and Fisheries Assistant Minister Abu Chiaba and Lamu County Council Chairman Abdulkassim Ahmed among others.

The function was also attended by National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, several ministers from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, several assistant ministers, Members of Parliament from across the country, senior Government officials, diplomats, development partners and Lamu residents from all walks of life.

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