The Northern Economic Corridor
The Northern Economic Corridor (NEC) is a multi-modal corridor, consisting of road, rail, pipeline, and inland waterways transport, and is recognized as a significant corridor for logistics in East Africa. The main road network runs from Mombasa Sea Port through Kenya and Uganda to Rwanda and Burundi and to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The road network also links Kenya and Uganda to Juba in South Sudan.
There are some obstacles in the NEC such as: inadequate infrastructure; poor connectivity of modes; long delays of cargo at the port and boarder post; and lack of goods to transport for the return trip from the inland area to Mombasa port. These obstacles have led to an increase in transport costs within the NEC and have hindered the economic development of the region, specifically inland areas.
The Governments of Uganda and Kenya therefore requested the Government of Japan to implement a project to formulate a master plan on logistics in Northern Corridor in order to promote regional development. In response to these requests, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) dispatched a ‘Detail Design Formulation Team for the Project’ in October and November 2014. The Team proposed to develop a concept that would cover not only logistics, but also regional development along the NEC. The Governments of Kenya and Uganda agreed with the concept and signed the Record of Discussion with JICA for the implementation of the Project for Formulation of the Master Plan on Logistics in the Northern Economic Corridor (also known as the Master Plan Study).
Objective of the Master Plan Study
The objective of this Project is to formulate a Master Plan on Logistics for the NEC, along with integrated regional development strategy consistent with sub-regional development plans and national development plans. The target year of this Master Plan is 2030.
Owners of the Master Plan
The government organizations responsible for the Project are as follows:
- In Kenya, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and
- In Uganda, the Ministry of Works and Transport.
The target area of the Master Plan study covers the following routes and surrounding areas (see Figure 1):
- Main route
- Mombasa – Nairobi – Tororo –Kampala – Katuna – Kigali (Rwanda)
- Eldoret – Nadapal – Juba (South Sudan)
- Tororo – Gulu – Elegu – Juba
- Kampala – Gulu – Elegu – Juba
- Mbarara – Mpondwe – Kisangani (DRC)
The JICA Study Team (JST), consisting of 16 experts employed by JICA, is currently undertaking the Master Plan study as per the following schedule:
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
SEA is defined as an environmental and social assessment of policy, plans and programme (PPP) proposals. SEA is different from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in that SEA is used at the PPP levels, while EIA is used to identify impacts of a proposed project, (see Figure 3 ).
The aim of the SEA will be to integrate environmental and social considerations into the Master Plan on Logistics in the NEC and the final outputs SEA Reports submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in both Kenya and Uganda for approval.
The SEA Process
The proposed SEA process is outlined below (see Figure 4)
Screening: to decide whether an SEA is appropriate and relevant to the development of a policy, plan or programme. In Kenya, a PPP Brief was submitted to NEMA by JST in June 2015.
Scoping: to determine whether significant environmental and social considerations are likely to arise from implementing the Master Plan. The focus will be on identifying strategic considerations at a conceptual level, rather than evaluating quantitative, detailed environmental and social impacts, as in a project-level assessment.
Detailed SEA Study: to collect baseline data; identify alternatives; determine whether the Master Plan is likely to have significant effects on the environment; and identify measures to enhance opportunities and mitigate adverse impacts.
SEA Validation: to present the outcomes of the SEA.
The SEA will be undertaken in full compliance with the following:
- In Kenya, the Environmental Management and Coordination Act 1999 (EMCA), Environmental (Impact Assessment and Audit) Regulations, 2003, as well as the National Guidelines for SEA in Kenya, 2012,
- In Kenya and Uganda, JICA’s Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations, 2010, and
- In Kenya and Uganda, International Regulations such as the UNFCC, EAC Protocol on Environment, United National Convention on Biological Diversity, EAC Protocol on Environment.
Talking to or engaging stakeholders is carried out to:
- Give information about the Master Plan;
- Give an opportunity for stakeholders to give their opinions and raise their concerns; and
- Give stakeholders regular feedback about the proposed Project.
ERM and Atacama are independent consultants who will run the SEA and stakeholder engagement process. The team commits to talking to people and engaging stakeholders according to the following principles:
- Free: Stakeholders are free to express their real opinions and concerns without being influenced by other stakeholders;
- Prior: Stakeholders are given information before any important decisions are made on the Master Plan. It also allows stakeholders enough time to consider information that they are receiving; and
- Informed: Stakeholders are given enough of the right information at the right time to make sure they are able to engage in a meaningful way.