The construction of the $413m trans continental Pan African Highway funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) has formally started as the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon unveiled plaques to commemorate the event.
The project was flagged off by Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Senator Mohammed Daggash, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Works, Mr. Bernard Messengue Avom and the President of the ADB Group, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, who was represented by ADB’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Mr. Janvier Liste.
The 443km long Bamenda – Enugu road corridor comprises the 203 km Bamenda – Mamfe – Ekok road sections in Cameroon, 240 km Mfun – Ikom – Mbuk, Ogoja – Abakiliki – Enugu Road sections in Nigeria, the 100 metres long bridge over the Munaya River in Cameroon and the 280 metres lon border bridge over the Cross River.
At the ceremony which took place at the border towns of Mfun and Ekok in Nigeria and Cameroon respectively, the President of the ADB, Donald Kaberuka said the development of the Bermenda–Enugu Road Corridor is a step forward in implementing the NEPAD Short-Term Action Plan that aims at promoting accelerated growth and sustainable development, eradicating generalized and extreme poverty, and ending Africa’s marginalization in the globalisation process.
According to the ADB President, “Therefore, it is with pride that the ADB Group, in its lead role in implementing the NEPAD infrastructure component, undertook to mobilize the necessary resources for developing this corridor right from 2002.
“Thanks to this corridor and other regional programmes, including the Douala – Bangui and Douala – N’djamena Corridor within the CEMAC zone, as well as the Accra – Ouagadougou – Bamako and Bamako – Dakar Corridor in the ECOWAS zone, to mention but these Africans will in the near future be able to travel the Continent by road from Mombassa to Lagos and from Tripoli to Cape Town”.
Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Senator Mohammed Daggash, also disclosed that from the Nigerian side, the programme is being co-financed through a low-interest loan of $161 million from the ADB and part of a credit of $330 from the World Bank. The Federal Government of Nigeria, he said, is therefore contributing 10 percent of the works as counterpart funds.
According to him, “On the Nigerian side, reinforcement of the road corridor is made up of two lots, namely Lot 1 – Reconstruction of Abakiliki – Mbok (Ogoja Junction) Road (85km), and Lot 2 – Pavement Strengthening of Ikom – Mfun (Cameroon Border) Road (25km)”.
He said the contract for both roads was awarded to Messrs. China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at a total sum of N13.84 billion comprising N10.75 billion for Lot 1 and N2.33 billion for Lot 2, with completion times of 15 and 24 months respectively.
He disclosed that works on the roads commenced in November 2009 with percentage completion to date at 7% and 26% for Lot 1 and Lot 2 respectively.
Daggash said the entire route from Enugu to the Cameroon border at Mfun has been planned for reconstruction or rehabilitation.
“While the African Development Bank is assisting in the Abakaliki – Mbok and Ikom – Mfun Sections of the corridor, the World Bank is assisting in the Enugu – Abakaliki Section (77km) and Ogoja Junction – Ikom Section (52km)”, he said.