Conference on Abidjan Lagos Corridor development programme opens

Accra, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, the Minister of Roads and Highways, said the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Development Programme requires cooperation and commitment of all stakeholders and immense political will to ensure successful execution.

He said the Abidjan Lagos Corridor constituted the most viable trading corridor section of the Trans-West African Highway network and its development would facilitate tourism and further deepen regional integration.

The Minister was speaking at the opening of a four-day Ministerial Steering Committee and Experts Meeting for the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Highway Development Programme in Accra.

The meeting would be held in the five countries that are undertaking the project namely: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria to review each member state’s efforts and help to strengthen their resolve to provide the Sub-region the required infrastructure for sustainable socio-economic development.

Mr Amoako-Attah said: Considering the immense benefits to be derived from this project, we are convinced without a doubt that the regional approach is the best way to implement a project of such magnitude.

Although the development of the Corridor will offer various economic, technological and resource utilisation benefits, it will also bring along some implementation challenges, he said.

He said the idea of the project was borne at the 41st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments in 2012 where the ECOWAS Commission was tasked to intensify its efforts towards the development of regional infrastructure as a catalyst for regional economic growth.

The Heads of State and Governments of Benin, Republic of the Cote D’Ivoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Togolese Republic, decided during their meeting held in Addis Ababa on May 25, 2013 to expand the Abidjan Lagos Corridor to a Three Lane Dual Carriage Highway.

It was based on the recommendations of the meeting of the Ministers of Infrastructure, Transport, Finance and Justice held in Abuja on 22nd April, 2013.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is leading with the coordination for the development of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway, he added.

The Minister said the Abidjan- Lagos Corridor was a priority flagship programme of the ECOWAS and formed part of the West African Priority Action Plan of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which was adopted by the African Heads of State and Government as the continental infrastructure framework in 2012.

He said like most global integration concepts, the project required a wider perspective on issues for the broader good.

He expressed Ghana’s gratitude for the cooperation she had enjoyed from the ECOWAS and the unwavering partnership with the states along the Corridor and their technical experts in working together to realise the objectives of the project for the common good of all.

Ultimately, the decisions to be taken at this meeting will very much be guided by the experience and expertise of the technocrats whose collective opinions we believe, would be objective, he said.

Dr Antoinette G. Weeks, the Commissioner for Infrastructure, ECOWAS Commission, said at their last steering committee meeting in Lome, Togo in March, 2014, they agreed to review the progress of the project in connection with the implementation of the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Six-Lane Dual Carriage Highway Project.

She said since then there were amicable achievements including the completion of the study on the legal and institutional framework documents for the establishment of the supranational management corridor authority for the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Highway project.

Specifically, the study covers the development of the corridor management structure that will guide the preparation, construction, and operation management as well as the maintenance of the Corridor.

We also focus on drafting a legal document necessary for the development of the Corridor management authority, the development of the communication materials for the mobilisation of resources and the promotion of support and investment including the creation of a film for the Corridor.

She said they also developed a logo model, supplementary brochures and fliers exclusively highlighting and promoting the Corridor.

We’ve also completed the project work base platform at the request of the Honourable Ministers at the last Steering Committee meeting. They requested the ECOWAS Commission and our development partners; the AfDB, to work on this platform, which would give not only the ministers but experts the opportunity for information sharing as well as a resource for gathering updates on the development of the corridor.

So we are pleased to say that work in collaboration with members of the Commission and AfDB has been completed and I will rollout a pilot demonstration of the work base platform during this steering committee meeting not only for the review but the input ..prior to presentation to the ministers on Friday.

Mr Chukwunwike Ogbonna, the Chairman of Committee of Experts, said the Steering Committee had done a lot to drive the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Development programme.

He said rotating the meeting among the five member states would give them the opportunity to measure individual member states’ efforts and urged them on in areas that they were lagging.

He, therefore, urged members to continue to work hard to enable them to achieve the goal of the project.

The Presidents of Ghana, CAte d’Ivoire, Benin and Nigeria and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Togo signed a Treaty in March, 2014 under which they agreed to the construction of a six-lane highway from Abidjan to Lagos.

They also agreed to the establishment of a supranational management authority, which will oversee the management of the Corridor on behalf of the States and ensure harmonised project implementation and a higher quality of service and performance.

Source: Ghana News Agency