LAPSSET: transformation project or pipe dream?
The Rift Valley Institute organised a meeting of the Nairobi Forum for Research, Policy & Local Knowledge in October 2013 about “LAPSSET: transformation project or pipe dream?” The Lamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) is a flagship project of the Government of Kenya’s Vision 2020. A panel made up of representatives of government, parliament and civil society discussed the effects that this transnational megaproject will have on communities in northern Kenya and neighbouring countries. Key points that came out of the debate are:
- The LAPSSET project has transformative potential for the neglected north of Kenya and for East African regional integration.
- A major challenge is safeguarding the environment, and the rights and livelihoods of those people – including many pastoralists – whose lands the project will cross.
- Each element of the project carries a significant economic and social cost.
- Engagement with communities whose livelihoods may be disrupted by LAPSSET is vital so that the project won’t become a white elephant.
- Engagement with county governments in Kenya is a key factor.