Lamu Port and related infrastructure, Kenya

The development of a new port and associated infrastructure at Magogoni in Manda Bay near Lamu are proposals set out in Vision 2030 to transform Northern Kenya. They leave aside a holistic approach and apply individual EIAs to projects.


The development of a new port and associated infrastructure at Magogoni in Manda Bay near Lamu are among the major flagship proposals set out in Vision 2030. This is part of a long term vision to transform the economy of Northern Kenya by developing a Lamu Port and- Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) and it is, potentially, one of the largest infrastructure projects on the African continent. LAPSSET is set to include the port in Lamus Manda Bay; a standard-gauge railway line to Juba, South Sudan's capital; oil pipelines to South Sudan and Ethiopia; an oil refinery; three airports; and three resort locations in the Kenyan towns of Isiolo and Lamu and at the shores of Lake Turkana.

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Basic Data
NameLamu Port and related infrastructure, Kenya
ProvinceCoast Region
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Wetlands and coastal zone management
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesTransport Services
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Lamu Port project is part of the Lamu Port and- Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project, which is a major flagship proposal set out in Vision 2030, with the aim of transforming the economy of Northern Kenya and opening up the region to create linkages between Kenya and other East African countries.

The project was launched by former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and President Gen. SalvaKiir of Southern Sudan in a formal ground breaking ceremony held in Lamu, in March 2012.

Feasibility studies for corridor components and the design of three berths and associated facilities in Lamu are complete. The Kenya government has set aside Kshs.2 billion for the construction of the three berths.

Lamu port will be three times the size of current Mombasa port at the more sheltered Manda Bay that is also large and deep enough to accommodate post-'Panamax' vessels. The three berths are designed to handle 30,000 Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT) and 100,000 DWT for general and bulk and container cargo respectively. The development of the berths is crucial for importation of building materials for the other project components.
Level of Investment (in USD)24,500,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100,000-300,000
Company Names or State EnterprisesKorean International Cooperation Agency (Koica)
China Construction and Communication Company from China
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Kenya Ports Authority, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNature Kenya, BirdLife International, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, BirdLife, East African Wildlife Society, Lamu Marine Conservation Trust, Save Lamu, The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Centre for International Environmental Law, and Katiba and Muhuri, Harakati Okoa Lamu Forum, Lamu Environmental Protection and Conservation Group (LEPAC), Kenya Marine Forum; Lamu Beach Management Unit; Council of Elders; Lamu Youth Alliance; Riadha Academy; Kililana Farmers; Lamu Conservation and Development Network
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Ethnic groups impacted include Bajuni, Pokomo, Mijikenda, Orma Taita, and Somalis.
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesThe need to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the larger LAPSSET project in order to component which are inadequate.

People also demand that the government repossess land that has been illegally acquired in Lamu District. It also called on the government to include residents in a land adjudication process and to pay a percentage of the port’s income to the residents.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Conservasionsts have expressed the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the entire LAPSSET project. However, the EIA for Lamu Port was approved and implementation of related infrastructure is ongoing with no SEA in place.

Local residents have also expressed their concerns of loss of livelihoods and cultural heritage, considering the fact that the port will be located 10km from the historic town.

Though the government has assured residents that the historic sites and natural resources will not be harmed; this is difficult to achieve without a SEA for the project.
Sources and Materials

Environmental Management and Coordination Act, Kenya Ports Authority Act, County Governments Act


Lamu Port Agency lamu.html
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Save Lamu
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Save Lamu
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Lamu Port corridor threatens pastoralists
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KENYA: Disquiet over Lamu port project
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Le Monde Diplo
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Vision 2030
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$24.5-billion Lamu port project under way
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Other Documents

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Meta Information
ContributorSerah Munguti
Last update09/08/2016
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