By John Ikani
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has announced that the construction of the extensive 1028-kilometer Abidjan-Lagos highway project is scheduled to commence in January 2024.
The endeavour will kick off with the procurement process for the main construction and subsequent actual construction activities.
A workshop was recently convened in Lagos by the Project Implementation Unit of the Commission’s Spatial Development Initiative to engage in discussions and conduct a comprehensive assessment of the physical, economic, and social aspects of the highway project.
The chairman of the Spatial Development Initiative, Ebere Izunobi, shared insights from the workshop, revealing the participation of experts from five member countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, and Cote D’Ivoire.
The project aims to bring about positive transformations in the lives of the people residing along this crucial corridor.
Izunobi underscored the high priority that the ECOWAS Commission places on transport infrastructure within its programs.
In addition, he disclosed that the project received approval during the meeting of the Heads of State. The “Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway” spans approximately 1028 kilometres, linking major cities and traversing regions with substantial economic potential.
Furthermore, Izunobi emphasized the commitment of the Spatial Development Initiative to collaborate with individual countries to initiate development projects along the corridor.
These projects may include establishing port services along the coastal area, constructing companies, facilitating the transportation of raw materials, and promoting the importation of goods and services.
According to him, “Spatial Development Initiative is the organization responsible for designing the project. We are currently in the design phase, and by the end of this year, once the design is completed, along with the environmental assessment and engineering design, the project tender documents will be made available in the market.
“The success of the road project hinges on its ability to connect, facilitate, and boost business development. That’s why the ECOWAS commission, which is coordinating the project on behalf of member states, has engaged a consultant to oversee the project’s development along the corridor.”
Ashoke Maliki, the Head of Road and Railways at the ECOWAS Commission, highlighted the critical role of the Abidjan-Lagos highway corridor as a socio-economic link within the ECOWAS region and a part of the trans-African road and motorway program.
He stressed that the project extends beyond highway construction, encompassing a comprehensive and coordinated system of intermodal transport and logistics infrastructures and services that support trade.
It is worth noting that the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor stretches over approximately 1,080 kilometres and is estimated to cost $15.6 billion.
It is designed to connect some of Africa’s most significant and economically vibrant cities, including Abidjan, Accra, Cotonou, Lomé, and Lagos.
Also, it serves a substantial portion of West Africa’s population and connects thriving seaports that serve landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
Originally conceptualized to include a rail line along the corridor to facilitate the movement of goods and services, the project received approval in 2016 with an initial completion target set for December 2024.
However, funding-related delays have impeded its progress, necessitating a revised completion date to be determined.