Lagos and Abidjan expressway construction starts 2014
The stretch of international road linking Nigeria's economic hub, Lagos with Abidjan, the Ivorian capital will commence next year.
Nigeria's President, Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this when he met with Cote d'Ivoire Investors Forum, on the sideline of his state visit to that country.
The President Jonathan also explained that the funding of the project would be sourced from the private sector, development partners and banks that would get return on their investments, by levying tariffs and tolls on users.
"It is a viable project that banks and business men within and outside the region will key into and which will generate enough money in short time," the President says.
According to him, the need to concentrate on the construction of the road was necessary to facilitate trans-border movement of goods and persons, reduce the proliferation of local customs and Police who make it difficult for business men to transport their goods.
The project blueprint
Stating that the 42nd ECOWAS Summit in Yammoussoukro considered the issue, President Jonathan said,“we have tasked the Ivorian Minister of Infrastructure and the Nigerian Minister of Works to work with the ECOWAS Commission and come up with a blueprint and preliminary information on the project, within two weeks. We will discuss it when we go for AU meeting in Addis Ababa, in May…This is because we want a situation where the desk-work, will be completed this year and by 2014, we want physical construction.”
“We believe that when we have this express road, the issue of movement interference by
Customs and the Police will be minimized because that will be an ECOWAS road.The laws regulating the use of the road will not be the laws regulating that of the roads in Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire or Ghana...It will be of international standard and everything will be done in such a way that movement of goods, services and so on, will not be interfered with by local restriction," President Jonathan says.
President Jonathan further explained that the project when completed would integrate the entire region and that ECOWAS member States were elated by the prospects of the project.
The president also noted that there were lots of investment opportunities in the sub-region which were yet to be harnessed for development.
He identified the major challenges to development as lack of technology and exportation of raw materials without adding values.
The two countries presented their economic potentials for the various business men in attendance to tap into.