Kenya courts Singapore for help on Lamu port

Kenya has turned to Singapore for support in construction and management of Lamu Port.

Speaking to the Daily Nation on the sidelines of a regional meeting between Asian and African countries that share the Indian Ocean, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri revealed that Nairobi had opened talks with the South East Asian country, which could potentially lead to investments in the Lamu harbour.

Construction on the Sh1.4 trillion Vision 2030 project is expected to start in June next year with Sh25 billion raised through public-private partnerships.

“Singapore already has experience in managing ports in their own country and in India. We believe that this experience will be a good addition to the Lamu Port project,” Prof Ongeri said.

The Lamu Port Project also involves construction of an oil pipeline, rail and road network connecting Kenya’s sea port to neighbouring Ethiopia and South Sudan.

The talks were carried out on the sidelines of a meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-Arc) inter-ministerial conference in Gurgaon, India.

Singapore is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world with an estimated Gross National Product (GDP) of Sh20 trillion ($239.70) last year.

Prof Ongeri said Kenya was hoping to tap into the Asian economy for both private and public sector investments into the Lamu Port.

Despite the recent violence in Kenya’s coast and the upcoming elections, the minister said the countries he had got in touch with during the meeting were bullish about investments in Kenya.

The IOR-ARC is a regional body that represents countries that border the Indian ocean. The objectives of the group are to pursue regional cooperation in trade, maritime resource management and security.

During the meeting in India, the Comoros was accepted into the organisation, bringing the total membership to 20 countries. The US was also admitted as a dialogue partner despite spirited protest from Iran.

Kenya submitted a tourism concept note that would see countries in the region market their shared attractions jointly.

Prof Ongeri said that the concept note was drafted in an effort to help member states mitigate the effects of the European economic crisis in the region.




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