Develop Lagos-Abidjan Highway To Boost Agric, ECOWAS Urged


The Project Director, Cassava Adding Value to Africa (CAVA), Prof Kola Adebayo, has urged member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to expedite action on the construction of the Lagos-Abidjan Highway to boost regional agriculture and food export.

This followed a report that the tender for the feasibility study of the planned highway, to link Lagos with Abidjan, the commercial centre of Ivory Coast, has been opened.

The project will be managed and funded by some partners, including the ECOWAS Commission, the African Development Fund (ADF) and the African Investment Facility (AflF) of the European Development Fund.

The study scheduled to last for 18 months will be carried out on various sections of the highway.

Adebayo said the sub-region has the potential for massive agricultural growth and food production that can meet the needs of residents.

With capacity for producing crops, such as palm oil, cocoa, groundnuts, cashew, and cassava, among others, Adebayo said the region needs better infrastructural development to boost agriculture.

He said the highway would provide an important economic lifeline for West Africa, and help to ease transport difficulties faced by food exporters using the major route, as well as create jobs.

According to him, the sub-region has the capacity to grow into a major food hub that will serve the interest of ECOWAS member- states.

He said the route has been associated with some problems and obstacles to the smooth flow of goods, trade and movement of persons.

A former Country Manager, Research into use Nigeria, Dr. Utiang Ugbe, said the Lagos-Abidjan Highway would ease traffic congestion on the East-Coast axis, but only to the extent that Customs & Immigrations protocols are harmonised.

He said: “In terms of free movement of people, goods and services, any potential net benefit will be erased if travelers will still spend hours at each national border crossing. Therefore, we must address both hardware and software of the project.”

In 2015, Ministers of Transport, Finance, Justice and Foreign Affairs from the ECOWAS met in Abuja to prepare the blueprint for the development of the highway corridor.