Excitement as Lamu port spurs business activities in the island
Construction of various infrastructural projects in the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor has opened up business and economic activities in the island, while residents reposition themselves to reap from the economic benefits.
The government has invested over Sh100 billion in the past decade in the county to construct new roads, ports, power lines among other projects accelerating developments.
And as the Lamu Port gets ready to receive its first ship on May 20, courtesy of Maersk Shipping Company East Africa, there are high expectations that this will accelerate development in the coastal county.
The county is now experiencing a sprout of projects including petrol stations, supermarkets, and rental houses and office buildings in readiness of the business opportunities in neighbouring Hindi, Mokowe and Mpeketoni towns.
In Hindi and Mokowe towns, residents drawn from shopkeepers, boda boda riders, and boat operators, say the projects are slowly opening up their economies, as some of them have started positioning themselves to economically empower themselves.
“Investors have started coming to town to put up projects, our youths are now getting jobs and we are happy because this will reduce the insecurity threats we have experienced.
As a shopkeeper I am happy because business is booming,” said Rosemary Kamau, a Hindi resident.
Boat operators at the Mokowe jetty are among the happy lot as they say the influx of people moving in and out for work from Lamu Island to the Lamu Port will require boats for movements thus providing an opportunity for them to make money.
“We are happy with this project, it has opened up opportunities for us as boat operators, we can transport many people visiting Lamu and this is providing good business for us,” said Galgalo Bonaya, a resident of Langoni in Lamu who operates a boat at Mokowe jetty.
The Lapsset corridor represents Kenya’s largest infrastructure undertaking.
Identified as a critical macro-enabler under Vision 2030, it aims to reduce dependence on the Northern Corridor road network through creation of a second transport corridor, as well as a new hydrocarbons export channel for Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia, while enhancing connectivity between Lamu, Isiolo, Juba and Addis Ababa.
According to Abubakar Mohamed, a shopkeeper at the Hindi market business has improved after the road was tarmacked. He says the influx of people as a result of Lamu Port has boosted his business.
This comes as Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) hinted that the Sh 10.8 billion 113 km road from Mokowe to Garsene will be completed by mid-June to pave way for transshipment of cargo.
Speaking at Mokowe jetty, KeNHA director general Peter Mundinia said the government has injected alot of resources into construction of roads to facilitate transshipment of cargo from the Lamu Port.
“We don’t want a situation whereby cargo is ready and there is no facility to facilitate transhipment,” said Mundinia, adding that by mid-June, some of the critical projects will be ready to facilitate transshipment of cargo in and out of Lamu Port.
Mundinia said another one is 19 Km road to Mpeketoni which is set to open up the region that will serve interior regions, adding that the Injara to Garissa road will be completed within one year.