The Federal Government says that the construction of the 1,028kilometre Abidjan-Lagos highway is expected to benefit at least 40 million West Africans upon completion.
This is as the link bridge that connects Nigeria to Cameroun which was largely funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), would be commissioned this month.
The highway is estimated to cost $15.6 billion which is expected to have a significant impact on the economies of five regional countries, namely: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, remained firmly on course.
This was made known by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola while speaking at the 16th inter-ministerial meeting of the group in Abuja over the weekend.
Fashola who doubles as the Chairman of the five regional ministerial steering committees noted that the resources were being mobilised to ensure the Nigerian axis of the project was completed soon.
What the Minister of Works and Housing is saying
Fashola stated, “The Nigeria section is the famous Lagos-Badagry corridor. As the designs are going on, integration is going on and our government led by President Muhammadu Buhari through his tax-credit scheme, has mobilised the resources that will ensure that the Lagos-Badagry section of this highway can be fully paid for.
- “Money is now in place and work is now going on and those who are familiar with the corridor must have realised that between December last year and the first quarter of this year, there has been more rapid deployment of men, machines and materials along that corridor.’’
- On the link bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon, The minister said, “We have completed a new link bridge that links Nigeria to Cameroon, and it was funded largely by the AfDB and we are hoping that the ECOWAS Commission will give us the necessary support to ensure the formal opening of that bridge sometime in the month of June.’’
- Going further he stated that the commitment to the piece of infrastructure is to upgrade the road network into a first-class six-lane highway, stressing that although there was a need for speed, quality must not be sacrificed.
- Fashola said, “We’re trying to deliver a better life for five countries and over 40 million people who use that corridor, almost on a daily basis.
- “The future is bright, this is an important investment for the people of Africa to achieve the objective of the Africa Union (AU) to create a trans-African highway.’’
Speaking at the occasion, the Chief Transport Economist, AfDB and Task Manager for the project, Lydie Ehouman, said the bank had been able to secure an agreement for an additional €3.5 million for the road project.
He stated that the new addition has brought the total amount available for the initial financing of the strategic study on the project to $ 41 million.
She said, “The agreement for the on-lending of this additional grant by the bank to ECOWAS is currently being finalised. Thus, in addition to its substantial contribution of $25 million, the bank will have mobilised €12.63 million in the form of a grant from the European Union.
“This brings the total amount available for the financing of this highly strategic study to the equivalent of about US$ 41 million.’’
What you should know
- Recall that earlier in May the AfDB had announced that the African Investment Forum has secured $15.6 billion of investment interests for the construction of the Lagos-Abidjan highway corridor.
- The Corridor is expected to connect up to 5 West African capital cities covering approximately 1,028 km and 8 border crossings, which are Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.
- AfDB says the construction will be the flagship project of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which is a key regional trade and transport corridor that interconnects some of the largest and most economically dynamic cities in Africa, Abidjan, Accra, Cotonou, Lomé and Lagos.
This is a very much welcome development.