The plant, which activists say would have increased Kenya’s greenhouse gas emissions by 700 percent, was to be built by PowerChina, a state-owned Chinese firm and primarily financed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, also state-owned.
Kenyan judges ruled that government agency approval was given to the project without having done an adequate environmental risk assessment.
Lamu, built in about 1370, is famed for Swahili architecture, twisting alleyways and stunning coastline. No cars are allowed on the island. A Chinese firm is building a port close to the island in another controversial development.
In Tanzania, a framework deal for the Bagamoyo port was signed in 2013 by Mr Magufuli’s predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete, during a visit by Xi Jinping, China’s president.
A ground-breaking ceremony took place around the time Mr Magufuli took office, though construction had yet to actually begin. Since taking power, his government has sought to rejigger major deals with foreign investors in mining, natural gas, telecoms and others as part of a resource nationalism drive.
“The conditions that they have given us are commercially unviable. We said no, let’s meet halfway,” Deusdedit Kakoko, director general of the state-run Tanzania Ports Authority said in May as talks to rejigger terms fell to an impasse.