19th ECOWAS Technical Experts and Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting ongoing in Accra

The ECOWAS Commission, an implementing partner of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project is hosting the 19th Technical Experts and Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting in Accra Ghana.
The Meeting which begun on May 16, will end on May 19, 2023.

The objective of the meeting was to enable the Committee to review the implementation progress of the project, which involves the construction of a three-lane dual carriage highway, implementation of transport facilitation measures to improve intra-regional trade and a comprehensive economic corridor plan.

Speaking at the opening session of the Expert Committee Meeting, Mr. Chris Appiah, Acting Director of Transport at the ECOWAS Commission said the ECOWAS Commission anticipates an integrated West African economy as part of the broader African Economic Integration plan contained by the Agenda, 2063 of the African Union.

He averred that ECOWAS also seeks to enhance infrastructure development, recognized as a principal supply chain infrastructure which is required to drive growth and economic integration.

According to him “The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor is a subset of Dakar-Lagos Corridor, which is part of the Trans-African Highway within the ECOWAS region, and whose development falls under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa’s (PIDA) main priorities. This infrastructure is critical for West Africa’s socio-economic development as it connects the most densely populated and economically active parts of the sub-region, and interconnects with a rail network and major ports/airports within its coverage area. The new Abidjan-Lagos highway will be a six-lane (3-lane dual) carriageway highway, and the study to be undertaken will be based on one main principle: fit shall primarily follow a new alignment, incorporating sections of the existing alignment where necessary, to ensure route optimization.”

Mr Chris Appiah indicated that processes were at an advanced stage for realisation of the long-conceived project and that, feasibility and preliminary designs of the project had been completed, adding that preparation of bidding documents for the various Lots had also commenced.

Mr Appiah noted that the completed processes would enable the Commission to approach investors to raise finances to construct the highway.

Already, he said, the ECOWAS Commission and member countries had been successful in mobilising some $42.55 million from its partners such as the African Development Bank and the European Union, for technical studies of the project.
The project has been estimated to cost $15 billion dollars.

“I think the amount mobilised just for the technical studies speaks to the fact that this is a very priority project, you know, for all the five countries, the presidents of the five countries and development partners who are with us,” he said.

The Steering Committee comprises Ministers in charge of Roads and/or Infrastructure, established by Heads of State of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor member countries of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.

On his part, Mr Abass Awolu, Chief Director, Ministry of Roads and Highway, said Ghana is commited to ensure progress in the implementation of the six-lane Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project.

He said the project, a key infrastructure that will traverse one of the most important road corridors, was a high priority in the economic development of Ghana.

Mr Awolu indicated that Ghana would do all it could to ensure the implementation of the project.
“We, therefore, are keen on the progress of this project and we pray that all Member States continue to be committed to this goal,” he said.

Mr Awolu said Ghana had begun the sensitisation of stakeholders along the right of way on the importance of the project to ensure that work commences smoothly in 2024 as proposed.

He noted that the economic viability of the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project has identified Ghana’s section of the planned road infrastructure as the most economically viable route under the project, adding that Ghana’s 520 kilometres stretch of the project, which spans Yamoransa-Aboansa and Aburi-Afineya, emerged with an Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) of 17 per cent which was higher than the average of 15 per cent for the entire project.

The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor
The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor covers a total distance of 1,028km and connects some of the largest and economically dynamic cities in Africa namely Lagos, Accra, Cotonou, Lomé, and Abidjan.

It also covers a substantial proportion of West Africa and links very vibrant seaports, serving all the landlocked countries in the region- Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Ghana accounts for the longest section (576km) of the corridor, including a proposed 2.7km under tunnel from Ga East in the Greater Accra Region to Berekusu in the Eastern Region.

The project, when completed, would generate economic and social activities, promote cross-border trade, and integrate economies within the ECOWAS community.

Abidjan Lagos Highway Development Project
The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor covers a total distance of 1,028km and connects some of the largest and economically dynamic cities in Africa namely Lagos, Accra, Cotonou, Lome and Abidjan.

It also covers a large proportion of the population of West Africa and links very vibrant sea ports, serving all the landlocked countries in the region being Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

In order to facilitate transportation on this corridor which carries more than 75 per cent of trade volume in West Africa, several interventions from ECOWAS, development partners and countries along the corridor have been undertaken over the years.

These include road infrastructure improvement, border posts restructuring and soft transport facilitation interventions to improve the free flow of persons, trade and transport.

It is for this reason the head of states of these five West African Countries came together to construct a six-lane highway on the corridor.

The $15.6 billion project is expected to be financed through a Public, Private Partnership (PPA) agreement.

He said he had been updated on all the many technical sessions on the tolling systems, updated feasibility studies, Ghana’s tunnel design, claims negotiations, project communication and visibility plan, young engineers training and many other issues discussed at different meetings by the experts, ECOWAS as a body, and the consultants.
He commended ECOWAS and the technical team for the good job they have been doing to surmount all these sticky areas and ensure that the project was successful.

“I would want to use this platform to urge ECOWAS to speed up the negotiation with the consultants to reach amicable settlement. We cannot afford to lose any more time at this study phase of the project.

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