As reported this week by The Wall Street Journal, violent land disputes have threatened to derail the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia corridor project (LAPSSET). For example, an attack in June in the Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, near Lamu, that killed 65 people was speculated to have been conducted by either local political groups over land rights or al-Shabab. Either way, the violence has contributed to investor wariness. The project also is expected to displace 146 families, but the government announced this week that displaced persons will be compensated before ground is broken , which is scheduled for September.
Earlier this month, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced approval of a nearly $480 million dollar loan to initiate LAPSSET. The loan was provided by the China Communication Construction Company and is expected to fund construction of the first three berths out of 32 berths planned for the port. The other major investor is the African Development Bank. Eventually, the LAPSSET project hopes to include pipelines to oil fields in Uganda and South Sudan.