The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Economic Community Of West African States Commission (ECOWAS) are proposing the construction of a 1,000 kilometres, a six-lane motorway that will connect four major West African capital cities.
The cities include Lagos in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana, Lomé in Togo, Cotonou in the Benin Republic and Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.
The agreement was signed on Monday in Abuja for a study on the technical, implementation and operational aspects of the project considered a new initiative in building regional integration and trade.
The project is coming nearly five years after the presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, signed a treaty on the establishment of the common highway in March 2014.
The president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Brou, along with the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma, the Nigerian Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and Chairman of the Ministerial Steering Committee for the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Program, Babatunde Fashola, signed the agreement.
An AfDB statement sent to Reporters on Tuesday said the Head of Cooperation, European Union (EU) in Abuja, Kurt Cornelis, witnessed the ceremony in the company of representatives of other interest groups.
The statement said the partners have already approved a $22.7 million financing package for the technical study.
The package consists about $12.6 million from AfDB and another Euro 9.1 million grant from the EU Commission.
“By linking some of Africa’s largest and economically dynamic cities, the road will promote cross-border trade and integrate fast-growing economies within the ECOWAS,” AfDB said in the statement.
“This is expected to contribute to reducing the poverty levels of the population that depends on inter-regional trade for livelihood,” the Bank added.
The senior director of the Bank’s Nigeria office, Ebrima Faal, said the project is a demonstration of the Bank’s full commitment to the 2020 ECOWAS Vision.
“We will work closely with the public and private sectors to unlock new sources of growth for Africa while reducing inequality between countries and within countries.
Together, we can unlock the enormous potentials of the West African region and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals for the region,” Mr Faal said.