The East African Community (The EAC) consists of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. However, the only country not on the U.N.’s list of Least Developed Countries is Kenya, which is why it is the best qualified to become an intra-regional hub for trade in East Africa. Presently, the Kenyan government is looking for offers to improve and expand infrastructure networks. This will inevitably create significant trade opportunities throughout Eastern and Central Africa. The expansion of infrastructure in Kenya will create a direct, positive impact on all of this country’s immediate neighbors.
Projects Being Implemented for Infrastructure in Kenya
- Trading: The Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) projects will open up a passageway for an increase of trade opportunities with Kenya’s northern neighbors, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The development of this project will lead to opportunities in construction of railroads, roads, airports, houses and utilities. Opportunities are expected in multiple areas of Kenya because of the LAPSSET project.
- Housing: The National Housing Corporation is using its principal agency status of implementing the government housing policy by putting a program in place to enable interested investors to recognize the current goal of building 150,000 housing units per year. Facilitating this project into action will create more openings for Kenyans and their living situation, allowing people to move up in the housing world, instead of staying in the same place for decades.
- Economy: The Kenya Airports Authority is in the midst of building a shopping mall, a hotel, a business zone and a commercial passenger terminal at JKIA. This terminal would provide successful bidding companies with equipment and materials for this improvement to Kenya’s Airport. This development would most likely increase the flow of people through Kenya because of the improved infrastructure, pulling Kenya towards its goal of becoming an intra-regional hub for infrastructure.
- Telecommunications and Transportation: There is a $556 billion investment planned for infrastructure development in Kenya. The majority of this investment will focus on telecommunications and power generation infrastructure. There are also major road projects that are ongoing, one being the Nairobi Southern Bypass, which was appointed in 2012 and is now 40 percent complete. An estimated $5.14 billion has been set aside for road project investment in Kenya. Many industries are expected to benefit from this planned infrastructure, which include oil and gas, mining, agriculture and retail.
Through large investments like these, Kenya will soon become the center for trade in Africa because of its resources, as well as potential investors that are willing to contribute to the growing infrastructure in Kenya. However, delays and an increase in completion cost may take place as a result of legal issues. Limitations on the type of projects international firms can get involved in have been enacted because of legislative changes to the process. Before these restrictions can be addressed, global firms will have to form local partnerships in order for infrastructure projects in Kenya to be accepted. Once these obstacles are overcome, Kenya will hopefully become a center for trade for people throughout the continent of Africa.
– Megan Maxwell