The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Infrastructure Project Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU) involving experts from ECOWAS member states have begun a two day validation, in Monrovia, of the Draft Final Report for the study on the Dakar-Lagos corridor missing links and others roads connecting Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, among others, which is valued over US$6 billion.
The ECOWAS Infrastructure PPDU, is a specialized agency in charge of preparing bankable regional infrastructure projects and is based in Lome, Togo.
The two-day conference, held at a resort in Monrovia, brought together nine West African States and consultants including Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Senegal.
Dr. Antoinette G. Weeks, Commissioner for Infrastructure at the ECOWAS Commission, said within the ECOWAS Community, the transport sector constitutes one of the key factors for advancing regional integration and development.
“This sector is also an essential element for promoting economic growth and social development within the ECOWAS Region. The region still faces many formidable challenges within the transport sector, often a result of inadequate transport infrastructure, deficient institutional arrangement, limited financial and manpower resources,” Dr. Weeks said.
According to her, the commission believes that advancing adequate technologies in the development of state-of-the-art road infrastructure is necessary along the Dakar-Lagos Corridor, which will be vital in fostering economic growth and ensuring the efficient delivery of transport services as well as improving the free movement of goods, people and services.
She said the program will promote top-notch infrastructure, increase peace, security and stability within the region.
“It is believed that the development of the Dakar-Lagos Corridor will widely contribute towards the socio-economic development of West Africa and densely populated and economically viable parts of the Sub-Region,” she maintained.
She said in February of 2013, the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast agreed to collaborate for the construction of six-lane highway on the Abidjan–Lagos Section of Dakar-Lagos Corridor, designated as phase one.
“The Abidjan–Lagos Highway project was consequently conceived and a Treaty by five heads of state facilitating its preparation, funding, design, implementation and effective operation was signed in March of 2014 by the five countries. Also, the countries committed to the mobilization of a seed fund of USD$50 million towards project preparatory activities based on a sharing formula comprising factors such as population, gross development product and length of corridor by country,” she said.
Also speaking, Public Works Minister William Gyude Moore, said he was pleased to welcome the participants on behalf of the government, particularly President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for hosting such worthy conference in Liberia.
Minister Moore said considering the rainy season, huge parts of the country have been cut off, because of the condition of the roads, adding that, “Many of our roads are not in good state to transport passengers.”
“What we are doing today is very important for our country and for the region, especially if we are to develop the region. We want to commend you for the commitment in achieving this so far and it is with such initiative that we will take our people from out of poverty,” Minister Moore said.
Sediko Douka, Director of ECOWAS and PPDU, said the objectives of the study are to establish a complete inventory of the missing links inhibiting the motorability of the corridor, with the aim of generating resources on the rehabilitation of the road, which supports regional and inter-regional traffic flow and promotes trade within the sub-region
He said phase two of the project focuses on Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal and Guinea Bissau and is around 3600 kilometers, which is valued at US$6 billion.
“We had the first ministerial meeting in Banjul in April of last year and we are scheduling another meeting for phase two in Guinea,” Director Douka said.
“The study will determine an appropriate engineering solution for upgrading of the entire corridor. The study will also undertake an economic, social and environmental appraisal for the consideration of various investment options. The study will complement and provide a solid foundation for the upcoming detailed engineering design on the Abidjan-Lagos (Phase I) and Dakar–Abidjan (Phase II) Highways,” Director Douka said.
The corridor, which covers a distance of about 4500 kilometers connecting capitals of eleven (11) ECOWAS member states, is part of the Trans African Highway (TAH 7) Network with the ECOWAS Region and its development falling under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
It also connects with other corridors on a north-south axis linking landlocked countries a Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
The Dakar-Lagos Corridor is one of seven flagship priority projects selected for implementation under the ECOWAS Community Development Programme (CDP).