Development Corridor Partnership

Development Corridors Partnership

Science & Indigenous Knowledge


Its main purpose of the Development Corridors Partnership (DCP) is to deliver effective research and build capacity so development corridor decision making can be based on sound scientific evidence and effective use of available planning tools and procedures.

A development corridor is a geographical area identified as a priority for investment to catalyse economic growth and development. This is usually through the creation of infrastructure such as railways or pipelines and are designed to attract new investments, boost agricultural production, open access to natural resources and facilitate their export to world markets.

Development of this scale can negatively affect communities and biodiversity. The Development Corridors Partnership utilises cross-disciplinary research and training to ensure corridors are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Two key ongoing development corridors which we are focused on are the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and auxiliary infrastructure.

ACC and its DCP partners in Kenya are reviewing a broad array of stakeholders and their influence, analyzing the development corridor implementation process, and highlighting potential social and ecological impacts, as well as climate change-related risks facing the development corridors.

The LAPSSET Corridor (shown in pink below) will span from the coastal town of Lamu to the South Sudan and Ethiopian borders. The SGR Corridor (shown in purple below) will run from Mombasa to the border town of Malaba. The area of influence of the SGR was considered as 80 km from the railway to capture the potential direct and indirect social and environmental impacts.

Lucy Waruingi, DCP Kenya Country Principal Investigator and ACC Executive Director
 Mt. Suswa in Kenya
Mt. Suswa in Kenya
Community Member Watching SGR Train
Community Member Watching SGR Train


Ms. Waruingi observed that the economic pillar of Kenya's Vision 2030 underscores the importance of infrastructure in Kenya’s development. The pillar also recognizes that wildlife corridors and dispersal areas are critical to securing tourism, which is Kenya’s second highest foreign exchange earner. However, infrastructure development in some of these areas negatively affects wildlife and resources that support the ecosystems.

Ms. Waruingi further noted that development corridors planning is always done sector by sector. In contrast, she emphasised that the DCP is focused on a more integrated approach that enables and inspires cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary research and collaboration. She acknowledged that the workshop participation and meeting was in itself very cross-sectoral in nature with participation from roads, rail, highways energy and oil pipeline companies and offered an opportunity for engagement in DC planning, designing and implementation between government agencies and other concerned stakeholders.

Finally, Ms. Waruingi stated that the DCP will assess and document the current and future impacts of DCs on social-ecological systems, including aspects such as displacement of people, loss of job opportunities, impacts on access, provision and supply of water along the corridors, and scenario analysis for land use transitions. The results will be useful for spatial planning for counties, supporting dialogue in a timely manner, engagement of government agencies, engagement of multiple stakeholders, building the capacity of various players, and widely sharing the knowledge, much of which already exists.

SOURCE — Adapted from DCP Stakeholder Workshop Report, April 4, 2019

LAPPSET — Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project

LAPPSET is an ambitious, long-term infrastructure project hoping to boost trade and employment in northern Kenya and create a middle income economy by the year 2030. It was first considered in 1972 but was postponed, revived in 2008, and construction began in 2012. The project was initiated by the Office of the President, with funding from a range of partners and the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

LAPSSET will be over 2,000 km long, made up of a railway line, (connecting Lamu, Kenya to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and South Sudan), an oil pipeline, and dual carriageway. An oil refinery and sea port with 32 new berths will also be built in Lamu, which is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The corridor also features an airport in Isiolo and highway between Isiolo and Moyale which were completed in 2016. The DCP Project is researching the environmental impacts of the LAPPSET Corridor Project.

SOURCE — Adapted from DCP Website
Lamu, Kenya — UNESCO World Heritage Site; Photo by Erik Hersman

"The LAPSSET Corridor Program is a regional flagship project intended to provide transport and logistics infrastructure aimed at creating seamless connectivity between the Eastern African Countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The project connects a population of 160million people in the three countries. Additionally, the LAPSSET Corridor is part of the larger land bridge that will connect the East African coast from Lamu Port to the West coast of Africa at Douala Port."

SOURCE — Brief on LAPPSET Corridor Project, July 2016
Development Corridor Project, Kenya

The African Conservation Centre is conducting interviews across households in the SGR vicinity to better understand the social and environmental impacts of development. ACC also plans to investigate impacts on habitat quality and connectivity. Phase 2A stretch of the SGR on Nairobi National Park (NNP) as one key area that requires monitoring.

SGR — Standard Gauge Railway

The SGR was launched to improve existing railways serving Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, and to introduce routes to Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and beyond. In Kenya, the railway will connect Mombasa port with the interior part of the country. The improved railway will reduce travel time for passengers and freight trains, reduce travel costs and increase tourism in remote areas. The project is divided into two phases.

Phase 1 — The Mombasa-Nairobi section of the railway was funded by the Exim Bank of China and the Government of Kenya on a 90:10 ratio. It covers a total length of 485km and features bridges, culverts, and overpasses across roads. Phase 1 was completed in June 2017, 6 months ahead of schedule.

Phase 2 — This phase is ongoing with similar funding arrangements. It will run 120km from Nairobi to Naivasha, with 6 terminals and 4 tunnels built along the corridor.

Nairobi National Park, Key Monitoring Area
Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway


4th April 2019, Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

This workshop was part of a comprehensive approach adopted by the DCP project in Kenya to bring together different actors involved with the country's development corridors. The main goals were to discuss existing development corridor research; learn from key government institutions and civil societies on their current and future activities around development corridors; and to prioritise research and capacity needs and identify key partnerships for research in Kenya.


The Development Corridors Partnership is a research and capacity building collaboration among institutions from China, Kenya, Tanzania, and the UK. It is funded by Global Challenges Research Fund and UK Research and Innovation.

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Development Corridor Partnership - Partners