The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has opened the 13th Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting for the Abidjan-Lagos Highway Development Project in Accra.

Speaking at the event, the Vice President noted that the Abidjan-Lagos Highway project is very critical to the sub-region following the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area [AFCFTA] which has Ghana hosting the Secretariat. The project involves the construction of 1,080 kilometers highways through major commercial and administrative cities of Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin and La Cote d’Ivoire.

The Abidjan-Lagos Steering Committee was inaugurated by Heads of State of the five partner countries in 2014 to oversee the implementation of the project. The quarterly meeting attracted Ministers of Roads and Infrastructure, Trades and Industry as well as Infrastructure and Technical Commissioners from the five partners in the sub-region and the African Development Bank {AFDB} to discuss the progress made so far towards the mobilization of resources to finance the project.

Vice President Bawumia tasked the partner countries to address the issues relating to payment of compensation to people who will be affected by the project in accordance with the national laws of the respective countries.

According to the Vice President, in spite of the importance of the project, it should not be seen to be creating social problems or unduly and adversely impacting the lives of the people within the corridor of influence. He further called for a robust communication strategy to market the project domestically, regionally and internationally to attract promoters and investors.

The Vice President advised that the involvement of local content in the choice of contractors, consultants and others for the development and management of the corridor should be central to member partners.

He described as gratifying, efforts being made by ECOWAS to source for funding for the development of the corridor project noting that the African Development Bank, European Union and German Development Corporation {GIZ} were contributing funds towards its implementation whilst each member state is contributing $1.4million for the feasibility and detailed engineering studies.

H.E. Dr. Bawumia hoped that the alignments for the project being proposed by the feasibility studies will seek to minimize displacement of persons and properties as much as possible in the catchment areas.

 In his welcome address, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Attah said 50% percent of the project lies in the corridor of Ghana from Elubo-Aflao measuring about 578kms. The Minister expressed the hope that the project would deepen integration and eliminate language barrier in the sub-region

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MRH