By Festus Fifen.
The Chairman of ECOWAS Ministerial Steering Committee on Abidjan -Lagos Corridor Highway Project, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola has said the Highway project When completed will ensure better life for five countries and over 40 million people who will depend on the road corridor to facilitate trade including movement of goods and services within the west Africa sub-region.
Mr Fashola who spoke during the 16th Ministerial Steering Committee meeting in Abuja emphasized that when completed the project will reduce travel time between these countries by 48% with an additional 28% reduction in vehicular maintenance cost.
In his words, “We are talking about a world-class infrastructure efficiency and to improve the travel experience of over 14 million commuters who traverse this corridor in search of their livelihood, operating a common and efficient border to reduce journey time and also to reduce checkpoints.”
The 1,028 Km six lane Road network which connects Nigeria to Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and Terminates in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire connects major cities and crosses areas with high economic potentials representing 75% of volume of trades in west Africa.
Speaking on the financial implication of the project, Lydie Ehouman, Chief Transport Economist, African Development Bank (AfDB) said that the bank has been able to secure an agreement for additional €3.5 million for the Abidjan- Lagos highway project which brings the total amount available for the financing of the highly strategic study to US$ 41 million.
According to her, “I am pleased to confirm the signing of an amendment to the financing agreement between the bank and the European Union making available an additional grant of 3.5 million Euros for the study.
“The agreement for the on-lending of this additional grant by the bank to ECOWAS is currently being finalized. Thus, in addition to its substantial contribution of US$ 25 million, the bank will have mobilized EUR 12.63 million in the form of a grant from the European Union.
“This brings the total amount available for the financing of this highly strategic study to the equivalent of about US$ 41 million.”
The economic community of West African States ECOWAS in 2013 observed that Africa’s economic integration is hampered by large deficits in its transport infrastructure. The 2050 ECOWAS vision seeks to enhance infrastructure development recognized as a factor for economic growth and integration of peoples and contributes to the creation of a regional environment favorable to the free movement of people and goods. Therefore, Transport Infrastructure has been prioritized in the ECOWAS Commission programmes. As part of this vision the Heads of State during the 42nd Ordinary Summit held in February 2013, formally approved the construction of a homogenous six-lane (2×3 lanes) Corridor Highway to link the following five countries: Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire. This Highway, known as the “Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway”, with a length of around 1028 km, connects major cities and crosses an area with high economic potential representing about 75% of the volume of trade in West Africa.
The Treaty establishing the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Project places the responsibility of managing the Project on a Steering Committee (SC) made up of Ministers in charge of Road Transport, Highways, Infrastructure, and Public Works of the Corridor Member States (CMS). The SC provides general project oversight Function. The ECOWAS Commission is the Executing Agency of the Project and The Commissioner for Infrastructure represents the Commission on the Steering Committee and coordinates the Corridor activities alongside the Member States at the ministerial level. The day-to-day management of the study is the responsibility of a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) under the Commissioner for Infrastructure of ECOWAS
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