Lamu island, an enclave of Swahili culture, was given UNESCO heritage status in 2001
Chinese-backed Kenyan 'super port' could devastate UNESCO island
14th December, 2010
Wide-ranging plans to link up Kenya, Ethiopia and Southern Sudan include the building of a port which threatens the Lamu district's indigenous coastal communities and fragile ecology, reports Tafline Laylin
As part of its Vision 2030 plan to become an industrialised nation, Kenya is embarking on a $20 billion port project that threatens to destroy a fragile cultural and ecological heritage site along the country’s northern coast.
The Lamu-Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport Plan (LAPSSET) includes a port and oil refinery proposed for construction on the mainland across from the Lamu archipelago; three international airports and three resorts; an oil pipeline from Lamu to southern Sudan, and a massive rail and road network that will connect the region south of Somalia to the rest of Kenya, Ethiopia, and southern Sudan.
An enclave of Swahili culture given UNESCO heritage status in 2001, Lamu is the best-known and most populated island in the archipelago surrounding Manda Bay. Others include Manda, Manda Toto, and Pate. Along with the mainland, each is fringed by an expanse of mangrove forest and nurture coral reefs, endangered dugongs and marine turtles, as well as indigenous tribes that still rely almost exclusively on their natural resources for subsistence.
In 1977, predicting that Kenya’s first port in Mombasa would eventually reach a saturation point, Renardet-Sauti, a...
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