ECOWAS assures accelerated action on Abidjan-Lagos corridor highway development project
Towards achieving rapid implementation of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project, ECOWAS has organized the sixteenth (16th) Ministerial Steering Committee and Experts meetings on the Abidjan-Lagos Project in Abuja, Nigeria from 1st to 3rd June 2022. The objectives of the Sixteenth (16th) Steering Committee and Experts’ Meeting are to review the progress of the technical components of the project, follow up on recommendations of the 15th meeting of Ministers Steering Committee, discuss and agree on the appropriate toll system for the corridor, among others.
In his opening address, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Mr. Pathé Gueye whose speech was delivered by Mr. Chris Appiah, the Head of Maritime Transport and Corridors in the ECOWAS Department of Infrastructure, welcomed participants to the meeting and thanked the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chair of the Steering Committee, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN for the courtesies extended to Ministers, Directors and Project Engineers from Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.
He indicated that being the 16th Experts Committee meeting of the project since its inception, several milestones had been achieved but there is more to do to fast-track the project. One of such achievements was the completion and validation of the feasibility and preliminary study reports for the three (3) lots by the last meeting of Experts in October 2021. This was subsequently endorsed by the Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting that followed up on 22nd October 2021. The Ministers also approved the commencement of the third Phase “Detailed Engineering Design”, which was subsequently communicated to consultants to begin on 1st November 2022 for a period of 5 months. The 2-day meeting will therefore cover discussions with regards to its progress and find solutions to the challenges affecting its attainment.” He concluded by reiterating ECOWAS continued support for the project towards achieving financial close and construction works and expressed the appreciation of ECOWAS to the African Development Bank and European Union for contributing financial resources toward the technical studies.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee of Experts, Engr. Chukwunike Uzo, Director of Highway Planning at the Ministry of Works and Housing of Nigeria, expressed his appreciation for the commitment of Directors & Engineers from the corridor countries to the project despite challenges hindering the timely completion of the studies to enable the physical construction. He added that as a show of the commitment to the construction of the corridor highway, the Federal Republic of Nigeria has substantially completed the construction of the Seme-Badagry-Lagos road section that forms part of the Abidjan-Lagos Highway Development project. He said the development of the highway corridor will be a significant success as several trans-African highway projects are being planned across the continent and it will serve as a template for others. Engr. Uzo encouraged participants to propose the best way for the project to move towards financing and construction of the project so that the economic and social benefits associated with the project could soon be realized.
At the end of the meetings, it is expected that issues surrounding the Detailed Design Study, the tolling system, and an updated study completion schedule will be validated. These and other technical recommendations will be presented to Honourable Ministers at the 16th Steering Committee Meeting on 3rd June 2022 for their endorsement and oversight guidance.