The African Development Bank (AfDB) says the $430 million highway project linking Enugu to Bamenda in Cameroon will be completed this year. The bank, in a statement issued on Monday, said that it was part of its investments in West Africa which currently stood at $16 billion.

The statement quoted the President of AfDB, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, as disclosing this in a speech at the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Ghana.

According to Adesina, the $430 million-highway project will transform trade opportunities between the two countries.

He also disclosed that the bank was working assiduously with the ECOWAS Commission to finalise feasibility studies for the Abidjan-Lagos corridor by the end of 2021.

“We expect construction for the corridor to commence within 24 months,’’ Adesina said.

The bank’s president said that the highway would link 85 per cent of the trade volume in ECOWAS through the corridor.

Adesina, who pointed out that AfDB was investing massively in West Africa, said that the total active portfolio of the bank in West Africa currently stood at $16 billion.

According to him, the bank’s support for infrastructure in the ECOWAS region has doubled over the past five years, increasing from $2 billion in 2015 to $4 billion.

“While I can list several projects in every country, let me just mention a few critical regional infrastructure.

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“The Senegambia Bridge is rapidly facilitating trade between Senegal and The Gambia.

“Our financing helped to double the capacity of the Lome container port in Togo, which is critical for regional transport and logistics.

“The Bamako to San Pedro corridor has helped to expand trade between Côte d’Ivoire and Mali by 34 per cent, while reducing transit time at the border from 24 hours to just two hours.

“The 303km road linking Ouagadougou and Lome has reduced travel time from six days to just two days.

“Our $650 million financing for the transport corridors linking Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia will impact on economic opportunities for 51 million people.

“I am pleased that this year, the bank will provide $105 million financing for the road linking Guinea-Bissau and Senegal,’’ he said.

Adesina explained that the $20 billion Desert-to-Power programme on energy would develop 10,000 MW of solar power to light up the Sahel and provide access to electricity for 250 million people.

“This project will make the Sahel the largest solar zone in the world.”