The Minister of Works, who is also responsible for National Assembly Matters Hon. Balla Garba Jahumpa Thursday, presided over the opening of the inaugural Meeting of Ministers and Development Partners on the Dakar-Abidjan Corridor Highway Development Project at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
According to the Banju based Daily Observer, the Ministers of Public/Works, Infrastructure and Justice from Guinea Conakry, Burkina-Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and The Gambia attended the Banjul meeting.
The forum is meant to consider the recommendations of the experts and also to come up with a communique on the project. The objectives of the meeting are to assess the current condition of the Corridor and discuss possible components and agree on common implementation plan for the Project.
Speaking at the high level meeting, Hon. Jahumpa told participants that the meeting of Transport/Works/Infrastructure and Justice Sectors of member states as well as development partners is expected to provide a road map for the realisation of the project.
He stated that the African Union and development partners have been working tirelessly on the Trans-African Highway Network (TAH), a network of all-weather roads of good quality, to provide direct links between Capital Cities of the African Continent; contribute to the political, economic and social integration and cohesion of Africa and ensure that road transport facilities between important areas of production and consumption in this corridor adequately address their concern.
The Works Minister pointed out that the ministers’ meeting is expected to produce a memorandum that would be presented to the Presidents of Dakar Abidjan Corridor Countries during the next ECOWAS Summit that is expected in July 2016.
“During the presentation of the Memorandum, the Presidents will be briefed on the steps needed to actualize the project which will include; the carrying out of initial assessment of the Corridor, having a detailed feasibility study of the Corridor, creating a management body for the project, putting in place an institutional and legal framework, providing ways to ensure efficient Corridor management, developing a financial mechanism for the project implantation and constituting a steering committee for the project.”
Minister Jahumpa further remarked that the Dakar-Lagos Corridor is expected to be developed to link Trans-African Highway Number 8 which stretches from Lagos through Yaounde, Bangui, Kampala, and Nairobi to end at the port City of Mombasa in Kenya.
Hon, Kadija .O. Seisay, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure noted that Dakar-Abidjan Corridor Highway Development Project would address some of the major transport challenges the sub-region is being confronted with in the area of free movement of people, goods and services.
Deputizing for the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Jules GOGOUA Principal Programme Officer, ECOWAS Commission thanked the Government of The Gambia for hosting such a high level meeting with development partners, while stating that the ministers would review the work of the experts.
All the Ministers who spoke at the gathering welcomed the move taken by the Ecowas Commission and partners for coming up with a laudable project for the continent.