The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway

The demand for a major highway to connect the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor has been a priority project following the conception by heads of state and government at the inception of the ECOWAS. Similar projects are also envisaged along the entire coastal corridor. The key element in the 1,028 kilometer road is a six-lane dual carriage way to enhance vehicular movement of goods and services along the corridor and facilitate economic development in the coastal region of the region. Construction is expected to start in 2024 and financing is borne by the African Development Bank.

The ECOWAS Commission hosted a 19th Technical Experts and Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting from May 16th to May 19th, 2023, in Accra, Ghana addressed by Ghana’s Vice President Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.  With an estimated population along the highway of 35 million it is considered a major trading outpost. Dr. Bawumia touted the economic benefits along the highway and would facilitate the free movement of people to make cross-border trade, commerce and related economic activity quite feasible.

 “The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway is part of the larger Lagos-Dakar Corridor. So, we are going to have an entire Corridor where you can get up and drive from here all the way to Dakar, Senegal, Liberia and all those places with a regional transport system,” says Mrs. Rita Ohene-Sarfo, who is a Director of Policy planning and Budgeting at the Ministry of Roads and Highways.

The Director in Charge of the Abidjan-Lagos Highway Project Implementation Unit for Ghana emphasized the importance of the Highway Project to Ghana’s economy and the overall African Economic Integration under the AfTCTA. Ghana is expected to host over 50% of the six (6)-lane Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway with 567km out of the entire highway. Ghana’s portion of the highway which is the largest among the five countries will be passing through some five (5) regions in Ghana including Volta, Greater Accra, Eastern, Central and Western Regions.

Mr. Kingsley Adjei Boahene, the Chief Director at the Central Regional Coordinating Council said the highway has the potential to attract economic benefits of about 17% to Ghana thus the Central Region should prepare to harness such prospects. Mr. Frederick Aduagyei, a Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Administration at the Ghana Highway Authority also stated that other benefits to be accrued from the project include appreciation of land value, creation of jobs, and several economic opportunities. He urged traditional leaders and rulers, MCEs and DCEs to cooperate with Highway Authority to avoid encroachment.

A trip from Aflao, Ghana’s easternmost border post, could be one of a joy ride going further through Togo, Benin, and then to Nigeria. Not only does the language difference – from English to French – makes it an interesting, learning experience but the many tourist points on the coast and in the adjoining cities, nightlife and the cozy stops along the coastal road, some of which could offer beach revelers unforgettable encounters in culinary and musical experience. Complement this with the proposed common currency of West Africa – the ECO – and the corridor could be a West African paradise.

In fact, the entire corridor could yield substantial benefits in tourism, adding more value to the highway. Businesses in the tourist and fishing industries are also likely to see a boost on the highway within the ambit of the AfTCTA. The corridor also offers visitors and tourists both the differences and most of all, the similarities in the cultures and traditions in the region. It is an area in Africa teeming with robust socioeconomic potentials.

As of now, tourist and travel on the corridor is nothing to write home about. Incessant waste of travel time at border posts, rejection of the ECOWAS card by some member countries along the corridor, and several harassing situations do not make travel pleasurable.

Amandla believes that the lack of uniformity in immigration policy implementation leading first to misunderstanding and poor implementation of ECOWAS protocol on immigration need to be addressed urgently. The regional body shares a common aspiration for trade, investment, cultural understanding and scientific cooperation, and that must be objective of the entire region.

On 25 May, 2023 heads of immigration services in the sub-region met in Accra, Ghana to deliberate on the issue of free movement of people in the region. Mr. Pascual Bernante, Chairman of the meeting recognized the bottlenecks in the road system and called on member countries to share information for effective implementation of the protocols within the framework of the ECOVISA or the projected single visa or the Schengen type.

Amandla agrees with the Chairman and believes that it is only such cooperation that could up the game for the continent’s immigration system and become a catalyst for Africa’s integration. The Comptroller-General of Ghana’s Immigration, Mr. Kwame Asuah Takyi also reiterated Chairman Bernante’s position to harmonize the immigration systems in the region to ensure and facilitate the implementation of the single visa within the ECOWAS, a top priority for the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and governments. He added that there was the need to “implement the ECOVISA project in providing good wellbeing to our populace.”

The Abidjan-Lagos highway is pregnant with potential to grow the region economically. The connections to the inland countries of Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, among them, together with the railway system envisaged would also greatly improve the entire ECOWAS region. The AfTCTA and the other regional bodies, in Africa are obliged to cooperate on the same lines as ECOWAS to foster both the economic integration and the accelerated growth of Africa.

Posted by on May 29 2023. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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