Reconstruction of the Akatsi-Akanu road, completed in 2013, has stimulated trade between Ghana and neighbouring Togo, helping to alleviate poverty.
More importantly, it has improved the livelihoods of many women living along the international route, according to a report by the African Development Bank which funded the project.
This road is an important international route that needed urgent attention to facilitate regional integration between the two neighbours. The Bank provided a concessional loan of US$27.8million for the reconstruction.
The project’s scope initially included two sections, comprising a 30km Akatsi-Dzodze-Akanu stretch in south-eastern Ghana and Akanu-Noepé in south-western Togo. This was later reduced to cover only the Akatsi-Dzodze-Akanu portion and a bridge over the Aka River along the border.
The work included construction of a 30km two-lane asphalt concrete road with a 7.3m carriageway. It incorporated improvements to road safety and two 2-metre-wide shoulders from Akatsi to Akanu in addition to the concrete bridge over the Aka River.
The new road has yielded a 55% reduction in transport costs and a 20% decrease in travel time. Motorists using the road say their vehicles no longer break down as often. The costs of vehicle repairs incurred by commercial transport operators are usually passed on to passengers.
“Merchants have indicated that due to the reduction in travel time, they can sell their goods in several centres over a week. This road could become the favoured means of transporting merchandise to and from Togo, Benin and Nigeria,” the report noted.
The report shows there are residual benefits from the project. “Women have benefitted greatly from the project, given the numerous markets that it has yielded along the road, and the high number of women who are engaged in the sale of food products such as vegetables, fruit and fish; and handicrafts. It has also improved vehicle availability to health centres and educational facilities, as well as to markets,” the report states.
The Akatsi-Dzodze-Akanu Road is part of the ECOWAS trans-regional highway network (Abidjan-Lagos corridor). It supports national, regional and international traffic, and promotes economic development and regional trade and integration.