ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States : Inches Towards The Realisation Of The Abidjan-Lagos Highway
Abuja10 November 2017. With the ratification of the enabling treaty by all five countries of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (ALC), ECOWAS is inching towards the realization of the dream six-lane regional super highway that connects Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.
And excited by this development, the ECOWAS Commission President, Marcel de Souza stated at the 9 ministerial steering committee meeting of the ALC which held in Abuja, Nigeria on the 10 of November 2017, that the boost in transport infrastructure will serve as a catalyst to intra-west African trade and an economic revamping of the region.
President de Souza who also gave a breakdown and trajectory of the financial contributions of the support partners such as the African development bank (AfDB) and the European union (EU) stressed that the feasibility studies carried out to aid the commencement of actual physical work was very central to the realization of the project as planned.
Noting that a large amount of the overall trade in the region takes place within the states threaded by the Corridor, President de Souza said 'The ECOWAS Commission made this one of priority projects in realization of its importance to the economic wellbeing of our people and we are looking forward to a reduction of all the encumbrances and checkpoints currently being encountered on the route'
Declaring the meeting open, the Vice president of Nigeria professor Yemi Osinbajo held that the birth of the project is a testament of the strong relations that exist among ECOWAS Member countries.
The Nigerian Vice president said: 'We may speak different languages and spend different currencies but we share common goals. This corridor will open up new vistas and vast opportunities for increased trading across our borders which is a major indicator of economic growth'
In his remarks, the AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina who spoke through the banks' Director, Nigeria Country Office Mr. Ebrima Faal, noted that the integration of the continent was the main reason for the existence of the AfDB with charge to pay special attention to the selection of suitable multinational projects such as the ALC.
He said the bank was committed to exiting the era where Africa accounts for only 2 percent of global trade, 12 percent of intra-African trade while intra-regional trade within West Africa is just around 5 percent compared to 69 percent in Europe, and 53 percent in Asia.
After a background of the project was given by the chairman of the ministerial Steering Committee and Nigeria's Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola, the ministers of infrastructure of the Member countries of Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo made statements of commitment on the strengthening of regional integration through collective building and ownership of requisite facilitating infrastructure.
The ministerial meeting was preceded infrastructure experts and focal persons meeting.