The actual development of the Lamu Port has moved a step closer, with the government calling for bids for the design and construction of the first three docking spaces.
The port construction, estimated to cost Sh440 billion, is one of seven projects outlined in the Sh1.5 trillion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor (Lappset). The tendering is open to both local and international firms.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), which is the implementing agency, says construction of three births at Manda Bay, Lamu, will take five years.
“The expression of interest will be done in line with the current public procurement laws... and interested firms may form consortiums or joint ventures to meet the requirements,” said Mr Gichiri Ndua, managing director of KPA.
Work is ongoing on the construction of the headquarters that will harbour all operations pertaining to the Lappset project, said KPA.
The Lappset project is intended to link Lamu to Ethiopia and newly independent South Sudan, thus attracting investments and creating jobs for the coastal region.
The project also involves the construction of a railway, pipeline, highway, airport and refinery at Lamu to ease congestion at the Port of Mombasa and Kilindini harbour.
The corridor is also expected to open up northern Kenya for development and trade, linking the region with the coast as well as South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The developments come after President Mwai Kibaki invited a delegation from South Korea to invest in the construction.
Kenya will receive financial support from Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia for the project.
The Kenya Investment Authority is also seeking to raise Sh50 billion from the ongoing London Olympics to be used in financing some of Vision 2030 projects, among them the Lappset initiative.
Equity Bank chief executive officer and chairman of the Vision 2030 secretariat James Mwangi last week called on the government to open up locked up financial nest eggs like pension funds to help finance key projects outlined in Vision 2030.
“We have to emulate countries like Rwanda and Singapore that are on the growth trajectory by exploiting potential financing avenues to support our infrastructure projects,” said Mr Mwangi.
He said the entire Kenya banking industry, even if it suspends all other services and turns to servicing the country’s Vision 2030 projects, cannot have enough financial muscle to see the projects through.