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Kenya and Ethiopia sign rail pact

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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Kenya and Ethiopia Thursday signed an agreement for the construction of a standard gauge railway line from Lamu Port to Addis Ababa as the two countries engage in major infrastructure development to boost trade.Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and President Kibaki witnessed the signing of the agreement by Transport minister Amos Kimunya and his visiting counterpart Deriba K Heiy at State House, Nairobi.Mr Zenawi arrived in the country early Thursday and is expected to be joined by South Sudan President Salva Kiir during the commissioning of the multi-billion shilling Lamu Port by President Kibaki Friday.Lamu Port is a joint project of the Governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.The port of Lamu is strategic both politically and economically for the East African region, and presents the most appropriate entry to East and Central Africa compared with Port Alexandria in Egypt, Cape Town in South Africa or Lagos in Nigeria.The road from the port through Garsen to Isiolo is also expected to the constructed to be at par with the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and will enable Ethiopia import goods using Mombasa port at a cheaper rate than through Djibouti.The Lamu Port-Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor as one of the flagship projects identified to enable Kenya become a middle-income industrialised country by 2030.In a joint communique read by Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula, President Kibaki and Mr Zenawi expressed confidence that Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project will, once realised, unlock trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.“They welcomed the completion of negotiations on the bilateral agreement for the development, operations and management of a standard gauge railway network between Lamu Port and Addis Ababa,” the communique read....Click here