The African Development Bank, AfDB, and the Economic Community of West African States Commission (ECOWAS) have signed an agreement for a study into a 1,000 kilometre highway linking Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan, to Lagos in Nigeria, marking a new step in building regional integration and trade.
The proposed Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway, a six-lane (3-lane dual) motorway, will connect the countries via Ghana (Accra), Togo (Lomé) and Benin (Cotonou). The agreement signed Monday for a study on the technical, implementation and operational aspects of the project, comes nearly five years after the presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, signed a treaty on the establishment of the highway in March 2014.
Jean Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission Finda Koroma, the Nigerian Minister of Power, Works and Housing and Chairman of the Ministerial Steering Committee for the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Program, Babatunde Raji Fashola, attended the ceremony, which took place in Abuja, Nigeria. European Union (EU) Head of Co-operation in Abuja Kurt Cornelis, together with other relevant stakeholders, were also present at the event.
The Bank has approved a financing package of US$12.6 million to finance part of the study for project and mobilized a Euro 9.1 million grant from the EU Commission, bringing the total financing for this important study, to US$22.7 million. By linking some of Africa’s largest and economically dynamic cities, the road will promote cross-border trade and integrate fast-growing economies within the ECOWAS. This is expected to contribute to reducing the poverty levels of the population that depends on inter regional trade for livelihood.
Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the Bank’s Nigeria office noted that “the Bank remains fully committed to the 2020 ECOWAS Vision. “We will work closely with the public and private sectors to unlock new sources of growth for Africa, while reducing inequality between countries and within countries. Together, we can unlock the enormous potentials of the West African region and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals for the region,” Faal said.