The money is for the feasibility studies and design of the road
The Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, on Thursday approved $50 million (N8 billion) as contributory fund towards the feasibility studies and design of the six lanes of Lagos-Abidjan highway project.
The approval came following a meeting of the ECOWAS ministers of works and infrastructure which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan on the sidelines of the on-going 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking at the meeting, the chairman of the steering committee of the project and Nigerian Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, noted that the $50 million to be contributed by the ECOWAS states was to ensure that work on the road project starts in earnest by the first quarter of this year.
He added that $16 million (N2.5 billion) is expected from the African Development Bank as the design and feasibility studies would be in excess of $50 million contributory fund from EVOWAS States.
The Lagos- Abidjan road when completed would transverse Ghana, Benin Republic and Togo.
“The feasibility studies is going to be far in excess of $50 million. So the AfDB offered that they have this money, that is the remaining $16 million to contribute towards raising the total money for the design.
“Now for the full design to be paid for, we actually look forward to getting additional funds from development partners and multi-national agencies. But to show commitment from member-states, that is why we (are) requesting for the seed money of $50 million”, Mr. Onolememen said.
The minister told Journalists after the meeting that when completed the project would achieve proper regional integration in West Africa and also open up the sub- region for commerce.
“For instance you can imagine what a six lane dual Carriageway leading from Lagos to Abidjan and in future from Abidjan to Dakar will do to the economy of the sub-region. It will certainly transform the economy of the sub-region.
“Nigerian alone provides 50 per cent of the population of the sub-region. So that means manufacturers and businessmen in our country entrepreneur in our country will now have unfettered access to the vast markets of ECOWAS and that is one of the major achievements this project will deliver in addition to bringing about better integration between nations and nationalities of member-states”, he said.
President Jonathan had earlier held a closed door session with Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Director-General, Graziano Da Silva, as well as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Carlos Lopez, on issues which border on economic development in the continent.