The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have agreed to fast track the technical design to develop the proposed Abidjan-Lagos highway.
The bodies have therefore signed a $22 million agreement on the design project.
ECOWAS Commission President, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, said in Abuja that the signing of the agreement was in line with the decision of the Presidents of Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin in 2014 on the construction of the highway.
He explained that with the approval of the member states, the ECOWAS Commission forwarded financing requests of approximately 89 million dollars to several development partners, including AfDB and European Union to fund the technical and project preparation studies.
Local media reports quoted Brou as saying that the EU contribution of €9.13 million was mobilised through the African Development Bank, which contributed approximately $11.06 million to bring the total to $22.72 million for the project.
Brou added that contracts were also signed with three major consulting firms to undertake feasibility, environmental, socio-economic and detailed engineering designs for the six-lane highway.
He said the 1,080km Abidjan-Lagos corridor would connect some of the largest and economically dynamic cities in Africa and also link vibrant seaports which served landlocked countries of the region.
In his remarks at the event, the Senior Director, AfDB, Mr. Ebrima Faal, said West Africa needed deeper market integration to promote industrialisation for the economic development of the region.
Faal said that the objective of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Study was to undertake all the needed technical studies for the effective implementation, operations and economic development of the highway.
In his speech, the EU representative, Mr. Kurt Cornelis, said the project fitted in the framework of the cooperation of the EU with the continent and also the region.
Cornelis added that the project would strengthen the competitiveness of the territories, stimulate investments, encourage regional integration for development growth and job creation.
According to Mr. Mayne David-West, Pearl Consultants and Civil and Structural Engineers, who spoke on behalf of the other consultants, the project design will take two years and will connect to the planned East-West coastal road.