US$15bn Lagos-Abidjan highway project receives lifeline

Senior Director of the AIF, Chinelo Anohu

The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) has said it is pushing and expediting implementation and tender processes to kick-start construction of the multinational Lagos – Abidjan Highway Project by 2025, barring any inconvenience.

The AIF, an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), admitted that though the five-nation project is an ambitious one, it is however not a difficult initiative to achieve.

Senior Director of the AIF, Chinelo Anohu, speaking to the B&FT at an Investment Roundtable in Accra said: “This project has been long overdue, and what we are doing at the AIF is pushing it forward to ensure we accomplish the project’s implementation period in a timely manner.

“We have a 2-3 year ambition to make sure the project gets off the ground, but there’s lots of work to be done in between. We are currently working to ensure that the milestones are met, and it’s not going to be an overnight project,” she indicated.

Describing it as one of AIF’s flagships, Madam Anohu said the project is expected to have massive impact not only on the sub-region but the continent as a whole, adding: “The continent’s transport sector is a major priority for President Adesina and the AfDB”.

The AIF said it is committed to bringing other projects – including railway projects, cable-car projects – to fruition on the continent.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, at the event, said infrastructure remains a key component in leapfrogging the continent to its due position.

“The continent’s budget for infrastructure needs keep escalating, and are currently at about US$130billion annually. But we need to close the gap regardless,” he said.

He explained that the ravages of COVID-19, which cost about US$485million in relief initiatives, and climate issues cost the continent about US$3trillion and bring enormous financing pressure on Africa.

Mr. Ofori-Atta however commended the AfDB for championing growth in key areas, including infrastructure on the continent.

CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant, said rekindling conversation about the Lagos-Abidjan Highway is timely and will further boost existing confidence of investors in the country’s economy.

About the Lagos-Abidjan Highway

The new Abidjan-Lagos motorway has an estimated cost of US$15.59million will have six lanes. The corridor is located on the coastal axis of the region and crosses the economic centres and most densely populated cities of five countries in the sub-region – Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

The population along this axis is estimated at 70 million and will be the direct beneficiaries when the project is implemented. Being funded by the AfDB, the highway will boost trade and transportation in West Africa.

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