To Fund $2bn Abidjan-Lagos Expressway, ECOWAS Seeks W/Bank’s Support
The Economic Community of West African States has requested funding support from the World Bank for the construction of the 1,080km six-lane Abidjan-Lagos Highway.
It stated that the $22.72m mobilised by the European Union and African Development Bank was inadequate for the project which was expected to gulp $2bn.
Making the request in Abuja on Monday at the signing of grant retrocession agreement between the ECOWAS Commission and the AfDB for the project, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, stated that the signing ceremony also involved contracts for the feasibility, environmental, social-economic impact and detailed engineering designs studies for the Abidjan-Lagos corridor highway development project.
He explained that a Project Implementation Unit had been established to provide dedicated hands in support of the infrastructure department to manage the respective contracts in a timely fashion, adding that the Commission was in the process of recruiting a technical assistance firm to support with coordinating activities for the three lots.
Brou called on the AfDB and EU to continue collaborating with the ECOWAS and the member states to ensure the successful delivery of the project to the Heads of State who conceived it.
He said, “We are grateful that the bank and the EU agreed to our proposal to reallocate funds to cover the financing requirements of the three contracts for the feasibility and detailed engineering studies.
“Considering the importance placed on the Abidjan-Lagos corridor project, we encourage the AfDB to consider other internal sources such as the New Partnership for African Development, Regional Public Goods envelope, and the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance for additional funds to cover the studies.”
Brou added, “It will also be appreciated if similar EU agencies can be perused to provide additional funding support to fill the gap. I also call on other partners such as Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank to also contribute to bridging the financing gap.”
A Senior Director, AfDB, Ebrima Faal, in his remarks, said the bank was investing in the project because promoting regional integration was enshrined in the Articles establishing the institution.
He disclosed that the bank had provided $12.6m to finance part of the study for the highway project in September 2016, adding that it also mobilised €9.1m grant from the EU Commission bringing the total financing to $22.7m.