East Africa's future: The pull of the north
Top left: Launch of the Lapsset project in Lamu; Construction site for a new railway in northeastern Ethiopia that will connect Addis Ababa to Djibouti’s Red Sea port (bottom left); and Djibouti harbour. In our continuing series on the future of Greater East Africa, we look at how security, energy and water have combined to create a northern magnetic pull on the region. Two years ago, several new impetuses emerged.
Production is to start in six or seven years, but profitability will largely hinge on Kenya’s ability to realise the $25 billion Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor (Lapsset) mega-infrastructure project linking Juba and Addis Ababa to the Lamu port. Who will be the engine of Greater East Africa?
At one point in the mid-1990s, it seemed that the Democratic Republic of Congo would settle down, and with its vast mineral wealth — estimated to be $24 trillion, more than the GDP of Europe and the US combined — would determine the shape of the wider East African regional economy (See: The future shape of East Africa: What happens when the sleeping giant of Congo awakes, The EastAfrican, June 22-28). That, however, was not to be and the investment in a more traditional East African Community of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda gathered steam.
But the late 1990s were very different from the 1970s, when the first EAC folded. By the mid-1990s, Kenya was home to more than 500,000 Ethiopian, Somali and Sudanese refugees, and there were more than 150,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
Moreover, the war between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Khartoum government was raging furiously. The SPLA leadership had set up regional political headquarters in Nairobi.
Uganda had been drawn into providing the SPLA with active military support.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at East African