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Dakar-Abidjan corridor: highway to progress

Apr 12, 2016, 9:32 AM

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is intensifying its move to actualise the Dakar-Abidjan superhighway plan to transform the road infrastructure in the region.

The Community is presently holding a meeting in Banjul to put in place further touches towards the commencement of the construction of the proposed highway.

This laudable undertaking, known as the Dakar-Abidjan corridor, involves Senegal, The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire.

It is believed that if realized, the highway would bring about a lot of good for the region. First and foremost, it will pave way for the economic integration of the region.

Poor road infrastructure has been a constant source of frustration in the region, which has for long time been impeding trade and business transactions, as well as partly responsible for the high cost of transporting goods across the region.

Although some transformation in road construction in the region has taken place over the years, a concern expressed by the former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade as regards the poor state of roads and weak infrastructure in the region still stands the test of time.

He once said in an interview with African Renewal: “We talk about African unity, we want African unity. Meanwhile, we don’t even have adequate road systems to go from one country to the other. Since 1960, every country has been building roads, but today we in Senegal can’t just drive to neighbouring Guinea. You can’t just get up and go by road to Mali. Why? Because their roads were not our problem. Every little country wanted to build its own.”

He added: “If we have a global strategy then the first thing we’ll say is, ‘Yes, we need a good road that will take us to Mali, and on to Niger, all the way to Chad and the Central African Republic’.”

Today West Africa and by extension Africa is still faced with poor road infrastructure, which is why such a laudable initiative as the Dakar-Abidjan corridor is most welcome in the region.

This highway is expected to boost economic activities in the region such as trade and movement of people and goods, while local markets of member states will also be enhanced. Barriers between West African countries will as well be eradicated, with such a highway.

As stated by Ecowas, the Dakar-Abidjan corridor also has a high-level of economic importance in the region, as it will serve to complement the Abidjan-Lagos corridor which is part of a larger African Union project - the Trans-African Highways Network.

"West Africa needs a better transportation system"

The Point