27 June 2016, Nairobi – Kenya is seeking Ethiopia’s participation in regional infrastructure projects after Uganda and Rwanda pulled out of the joint oil pipeline and the standard gauge railway.
In a bid to stem its increasing isolation in the region, President Uhuru Kenyatta invited Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for a three-day official visit last week.
The visit saw the two countries agree to fast-track the construction of an oil pipeline from Lamu Port to Addis Ababa by the end of 2016, as well as a Joint Railway Commission that links the two countries.
Ethiopia now provides the much desirable fall back position after Uganda first pulled out of the joint crude oil pipeline to Lamu in favour of the Tanga Port in Tanzania, while Rwanda said it was weighing its options on a rail link to either the ports of Tanzania or Kenya.
According to President Kenyatta’s spokesman Manoah Esipisu, the discussions focused on the speedy implementation of a special status agreement (SSA), reviewed the progress of the ongoing Lamu Port and Lamu South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) and other energy-related projects and sought stronger co-operation on border management and in reducing human trafficking.
The SSA covers trade, investment, and infrastructure and food and cross-border security.
The $23 billion Lapsset will now get a new lease of life as the two countries strengthen the SSA signed in 2012 and fast-track related projects.
- The East African