Africa Investment Forum 2023: West Africa aims to accelerate construction of Abidjan-Lagos highway | African Development Bank Group

by MMC
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Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have decided to accelerate the construction of the highway between Abidjan and Lagos, a project for which the African Development Bank is playing a role at the forefront in mobilizing financing.

The Bank has already contributed $25 million to finance the preparatory phase of the project. Furthermore, with its partners, it mobilized 15.6 billion USD during the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in 2022. The highway will connect the most economically dynamic cities and ports and the most densely populated urban areas in West Africa.

Gathered on July 9, 2023, on the sidelines of the ECOWAS summit in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau, the leaders of Benin (Patrice Talon), Ivory Coast (Alassane Ouattara), Ghana (Nana Akufo-Addo ), Nigeria (Bola Tinubu) and Togo (Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé) – the countries the highway will pass through – urged the ECOWAS Commission “to accelerate the completion of the detailed design study and financial strategy and implementation and to produce the tender file to launch the construction phase of the highway.

They also tasked the ECOWAS Commission “to cooperate with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (IBID) and the African Development Bank, as well as other development partners and the private sector, to deploy sustained efforts to mobilize resources to finance the investments necessary for construction. Highway”.

As a sign of their desire to continue the project, the leaders decided to establish the headquarters of the Abidjan-Lagos Committee Management Authority (ALCoMA) in Ivory Coast. Made up of representatives from ECOWAS and the motorway beneficiary countries, ALCoMA is responsible for managing the project.

Faced with this situation, a first round table of development finance institutions was organized with the ECOWAS Commission on September 26, 2023, at the headquarters of the African Development Bank in Abidjan.

The primary objective of the roundtable was to provide the main regional and international development finance institutions with the latest information on this major regional project. The meeting also served as an awareness platform and “soft market test” for the project, to confirm the interest expressed by investors during AIF 2022 and to take into account their recommendations and requirements. At the same time, efforts are underway to finalize the technical studies of the project in October 2023.

The AIF is a transactional, multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform designed by the African Development Bank and seven partners to raise capital for large-scale investments in Africa. Since its inception in 2018, the Forum has attracted $142.6 billion in investment commitments in Africa.

The roundtable was a success, with 180 participants representing more than 30 donors, including the EBID, the European Union, British International Investment (BII), the Belgian Development Agency (Enabel), the French Development Agency Development (AFD), the European Investment Bank. (EIB), Africa 50, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Afreximbank, the Belgian Society of Investment for Developing Countries (BIO), the American International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the German, Canadian, Korean and Spanish cooperation agencies, among others. Institutions such as MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a subsidiary of the World Bank Group), African Trade & Investment Development Insurance (ATIDI), TradeMark Africa and the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) were also represented at the table round.

“The next step will be to mobilize private investors and donors through market research sessions, once the technical design studies are completed,” commented Mike Salawou, director of the infrastructure and urban development department at the African Development Bank.

The Abidjan-Lagos highway project envisages a 1,081 kilometer highway linking five West African countries – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.

This was one of the priorities of ECOWAS set out in its “Vision 2050”. It is also one of the projects included in the Priority Action Plan of the African Union Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), implemented by the African Development Bank.

The new corridor will connect the main ports and main urban areas of West Africa: Lagos, Abidjan, Accra, Cotonou and Lomé. It will also help boost trade and integration in West Africa, notably by providing maritime port access to landlocked countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad) by connecting them to other corridors along the north-south axis.

The highway will boost the transport network (roads, railways, ports and airports) in West Africa and complement the Enugu-Bamenda corridor, which connects south-eastern Nigeria in West Africa to south- West Cameroon in Central Africa. This will significantly accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The highway will start at Bingerville, in the eastern suburbs of Abidjan, and end at Mile 2 (Eric Moore) in Lagos.

The route between Abidjan and Lagos is home to 75 percent of commercial activity in West Africa. The transport sector represents 5 to 8 percent of the region’s gross domestic product and plays a vital role in economic development and job creation, particularly for women and youth.

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