The African Development Bank to give grants to ECOWAS to facilitate the ambitious road project to link the regional countries
THE Commission of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and the African Development Bank, AfDB, have signed the $22.7 Million grant retrocession agreement for the six-lane Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Development Project in Abuja, Nigeria on February 4, 2019.
Alongside the agreement, contracts were also signed to cover three lots for the feasibility, socio-economic, as well as environmental impact assessment and detailed engineering design studies for the highway project which is meant among others, to facilitate greater trade, enhance economic integration and boost co-prosperity of the region.
Giving his remarks at the milestone ceremony, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the president of the ECOWAS Commission disclosed that the ECOWAS regional strategic framework has prioritized the development of key regional infrastructure to foster a competitive business environment while increasing inter-regional trade.
The corridor is approximately 1,080 km long. It connects some of the largest and most economically dynamic cities in Africa, (Abidjan, Accra, Cotonou, Lomé and Lagos) while covering a large proportion of West Africa’s population. It also links very vibrant seaports in West Africa. A feature, which Brou noted, will “serve all the landlocked countries of the region, being Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.”
Brou also called on other partners such as Japan International Development Agency, JICA, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, as well as the World Bank to also join the important project by contributing to bridge the traceable financing gap.
He informed that the heads of state and government of member states along the Praia-Dakar-Abidjan Corridor (Phase II of the Praia-Dakar-Lagos West African Coastal Corridor), signed a Treaty in June, 2018 expressing their commitment to replicate the interventions on the Abidjan-Lagos section on the Praia-Dakar-Abidjan Corridor over which financing requests of approximately US$89 million have been forwarded to several development partners including the AfDB and European Union, to fund the technical and project preparation studies.
The agreement signing aligns with the requirement for the disbursement of grant funds from the European Union, EU, from its African Investment Facility, AfIF. In this regard, Brou thanked the development partners and the project’s Ministerial Steering Committee for their unwavering support and backing of the collective effort of legal and technical officials from the EU, AfDB and the ECOWAS Commission. He also congratulated the selected consultants noting that ECOWAS citizens expect them to exhibiting the highest standards of professionalism in delivering timely projects in accordance with their Contracts.
Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the AfDB, represented by Ebrima Faal, the bank’s senior director, stated that being a patchwork of small and largely disparate economies, West Africa needs larger and deeper market integration to justify and promote industrialisation which is so important for its development.
He lamented that intra-regional trade accounts for just 11 percent in West Africa, a far cry from its immense potential for the region whereas, boosting regional trade will require far greater investments in cross border infrastructure; especially transport links, power generation and transmission as well as Information and Communication Technology, ICT.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Kurt Cornelis, the head of co-operation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, maintained that the project fits perfectly in the framework of the cooperation that the EU wishes to carry out in the region which is to “strengthen the competitiveness of the territories, to stimulate investments and to encourage regional integration for development, growth and job creation”.
According to him, the EU, a substantial financial contributor to the project, sees the construction of a motorway and the establishment of a management system facilitating the borders as something that will contribute to an increase in traded volumes in the area which already accounts for 75 percent of commercial activity of the region.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Ministerial Steering Committee of the project and Nigeria’s Minister for Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, represented by Engr Chukwunwike Uzo, noted that the agreements signed are both “significant and symbolic. We are impressed by the fact that the engineering studies carried out remain one of the fundamental keys to the success of the project”.
Earlier, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Infrastructure Path Gueye provided an overview of the project as well as its high benefits for the region. The ceremony was witnessed by Finda Koroma, the vice-president and commissioners including, Siga Jagne, the commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender; Vafolay Tulay, her counterpart in charge of General Administration and Conference; Sékou Sangaré, that of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, and Kalilou Traoré, the director of Cabinet and Daniel Lago, the director of Legal Affairs.
Nearly 40 million people are estimated to be living along the Abidja-Lagos corridor while 47 million people travel along the axis every year. These are expected to be direct beneficiaries of the development of the project touted to be a real backbone of trade in the region.
– Feb. 6, 2019 @ 12:37 GMT |