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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
Name of conflict:Lamu Port and related infrastructure, Kenya
State or province:Coast Region
Location of conflict:Lamu
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 commodities:Transport Services
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 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.

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Level of Investment:24,500,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:100,000-300,000
Company names or state enterprises:Korean International Cooperation Agency (Koica)
China Construction and Communication Company from China
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Kenya Ports Authority, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nature 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
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous 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 mobilization:Development 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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:The 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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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Le Monde Diplo
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$24.5-billion Lamu port project under way
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Vision 2030
[click to view]

KENYA: Disquiet over Lamu port project
[click to view]

Other documents

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Meta information
Contributor:Serah Munguti
Last update09/08/2016
Related conflicts
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