WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$90 million in grant financing by the International Development Association (IDA*) that aims to reduce trade and transport barriers in the port and on the roads along Abidjan-Lagos in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Abidjan-Lagos Trade and Transport Facilitation Project in Cote d’Ivoire is the second phase of a regional Program including Ghana, Togo and Benin. It will finance trade and transport facilitation activities along the 130 kilometer coastal corridor in Cote d’Ivoire, as well as trade facilitation reforms in Customs and in the Port of Abidjan. The 1,000 km Abidjan—Lagos corridor is the global gateway to coastal and landlocked countries in West Africa, with all landlocked countries using at least one port along the corridor.
“The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor links some of the largest and economically most dynamic cities in Africa -- Lagos, Accra and Abidjan ---, home to more than 35 million people,” says Madani M. Tall, the World Bank’s Country Director for Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mauritania, Niger, and Togo. “In the long term, the project will facilitate trade expansion both for imports and exports for local economies.”
The Abidjan-Lagos Trade and Transport Facilitation Project in Cote d’Ivoire is the second program in a series that will:
a) improve road infrastructure and decrease delays in border crossing time and in port dwell time.
b) reduce non-logistics costs, such as inventory and storage costs; and,
c) increase the awareness of the HIV/AIDS prevention means among the transport communities on the corridor.
“The transport sector in West Africa plays a key role in the economic development of the sub-region and generates about six percent of its GDP,” says Anca C. Dumitrescu, the World Bank Senior Transport Specialist and Project Manager of this initiative. “The Abidjan-Lagos coastal corridor was identified as one of the highest priority corridors for economic and social development in the sub-region due to its economic and large population that it covers,” adds Dumitrescu.
Poverty and Equity
The main social contribution of the new program is to enhance basic regional access and mobility of goods, and improve basic trade and transit facilitation to people that pass through the Abidjan-Lagos trade corridor. West Africa had in 2007 a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of about US$245 billion and a gross national income (GNI) per capita of about US$744, making it one of the poorest sub-regions in the world.
Specifically, the project will:
(a) help to create jobs and income generating opportunities in rural and urban areas;
(b) provide all weather transport access and services;
(c) develop infrastructure access to promote the growth of small towns and villages/settlements on the road corridor;
(d) connect export and import products to markets; and,
(e) help reduce transport costs and prices for goods and people in landlocked countries.
West Africa is estimated at about 260 million inhabitants, with Nigeria containing more than half of the total. However, the population of the sub-region is increasing rapidly and is expected to reach about 320 million by 2015.
The total cost of the Abidjan-Lagos Trade and Transport Facilitation regional program is estimated at about US$405.5 million and covers four countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin. The first phase of the program (APL1) is estimated to cost about US$257.5 million in Ghana, Togo and Benin has been under implementation since March 2010. The second phase of program (APL2) including Cote d’Ivoire is estimated to cost about US$148 million.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.
 West Africa includes 16 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d‘Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo).