Close this search box.

Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work



‘This study is in-depth, up-to-date and the first of its kind on a massive infrastructure development project in the region, examining its history, politics, evolution, the emergence of actors and interests and effects on the poor and marginalized. It presents the ambitions and ambiguities of a megaproject never seen in the development history of the region. The report is a comprehensive analysis of the hopes and fears emanating from a megaproject in the region and provides invaluable data on which future studies will certainly have to rely.’




The Lamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor is a megaproject which, is in its most ambitious form, would link a major new port development on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast to South Sudan and Ethiopia. However, the path to regional integration in eastern Africa has never been straightforward, while delays in project implementation and a perceived lack of local consultation and transparency have left many concerns unaddressed. Optimism regarding the project’s potential social and economic benefits is mixed with public anxiety over land grabbing, livelihoods and the environment, and inter and intra-communal tensions. LAPSSET: The history and politics of an eastern African megaproject analyses the events and developments relevant to the project’s emergence, highlighting the changing rationale behind the project since the 1970s, as well as the interests of key local, international and multinational players. The project raises the issue of the historical, contemporary and future dynamics of regional integration in eastern Africa. The report argues that achieving a broader and more participatory process that gives proper attention to social, economic, political and environmental considerations is perhaps the most immediate challenge LAPSSET presents.

  • Recent Publications