The contradictions of development

Primitive accumulation and geopolitics in the two Sudans 1

Authored by: Clemens Hoffmann

Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  September  2012

Print ISBN: 9781857436693
eBook ISBN: 9780203110942
Adobe ISBN:


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The recent opening ceremony of the so-called Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan–Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) has laid bare yet again the inherently contradictory nature of post-colonial development. The mega project creates a new East African transport corridor connecting land-locked South Sudan and Ethiopia with a 32-berth deep-sea water facility at the Indian Ocean. Among a variety of development objectives in the participating countries, the project is designed to offer an alternative export route for South Sudanese crude oil. Since its independence, the ‘world’s newest country’ has been at loggerheads with its former rulers in Khartoum over a transfer fee for using the pipeline, refineries and port facilities for the traditional export route through the Red Sea. Yet even though the project, if implemented, will have a tremendously positive effect on South Sudan’s development potential, local communities in Lamu claim they have not been consulted over the development of the UNESCO heritage site into a major infrastructure hub (Gari 2012; York 2012).

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