ECOWAS Leaders Approve $50m For Six-lane Lagos-Abidjan Highway

Heads of states belonging to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday approved  $50 million for feasibility studies and design of the six-lane  trans-West African highway project from Lagos to Abidjan.

The Lagos-Abidjan road when completed, will link Ghana, Benin Republic and Togo.

This came following a meeting held  with ECOWAS Ministers of Works and Infrastructure, which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The meeting was on the sidelines of the ongoing 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Chairman of the Ministerial Project Steering Committee and Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, said the $50 million, which is a contribution by the ECOWAS states, would hasten  the road project that is expected to begin in the first quarter of this year.

Onolememen said $16 million of the money will come from African Development Bank (ADB).

“The feasibility studies are going to be far in excess of $50 million, so the AfDB offered that they have this money, that is the remaining 16 million US dollars to contribute towards raising the total money for the design.

“Now for the full design to be paid for, we actually look forward to getting additional funds from development partners and multinational agencies. But to show commitment from member-states, that is why we are requesting the seed money of $50 million,” Onolememen said.

When completed, Onolememen stressed that the road would ensure proper regional integration in West Africa and also open up the sub-region for commerce.

“For instance, you can imagine what a six-lane dual carriageway leading from Lagos to Abidjan and in future from Abidjan to Dakar will do to the economy of the sub-region. It will certainly transform the economy of the sub-region.

“Nigeria alone provides 50 per cent of the population of the sub-region. So that means manufacturers and businessmen in our country will now have unfettered access to the vast markets of ECOWAS and that is one of the major achievements this project will deliver in addition to bringing about better integration between nations and nationalities of member-states,” the minister added.