Momentum Picks Back Up on China’s Development of East Africa Transport Corridor

China’s efforts to bolster connectivity in East Africa via the Lamu — South Sudan — Ethiopia Transport Corridor have been boosted by a pair of recent deals.  China CAMC Engineering announced on July 18, 2017 that it had won a $130.8 million contract from Kenya’s Ministry of Energy to build a 285-km, 220 KW power transmission line and associated sub stations between the towns of Garissa and Isiolo.  On June 19, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Culture, and Technology announced that China would also build a media center for state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation in Nairobi.

The corridor project had been hit by low oil prices, but the announcement of the power line contract, in particular, indicates a resurgence of momentum.  The project will be completed over the span of two years and is being funded by the Export-Import Bank of China.  As with other areas seeing One Belt One Road-related infrastructure investment, the security situation in Kenya is a concern.  Ten people were killed in clashes on the border of Isiolo and Meru counties on July 11.  This transport corridor, however, appears to have taken on strategic importance for those involved and warrants monitoring.