Roads and transport experts fromW/Africa brainstorm in Accra

PRoads and transport experts from 15 West African countries have met in Accra, to brainstorm on priority projects for the development of the sub-region.

The participants were from Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, Mali, Senegal and Cape Verde.

Topics discussed included new investment opportunities in the energy and transport sectors, implementation of transport governance, infrastructure investment and demand for the transport governance.

The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, speaking at the opening urged the need to protect the huge investment made by the 16 implementing countries in the road sector.

According to the minister, the poor road network condition due to delayed or poor maintenance, low maintenance funds and inefficient management, over loading, inefficient border operations and poor fleet management, have collectively resulted in low trade facilitation and high cost of transport in the region.

“It has now become imperative that efforts be made to preserve the assets to secure the investments made,” he added.

Mr Amoako-Atta stated that despite the huge effort being made to reduce the physical and non-physical barriers to trade, the continent continue to face challenges due to low commitment of the various neighbouring countries to adhere to regional protocols regarding axle loads.

“We continue to make huge investments on pavement improvement and bridges but have frequent deterioration of the roads resulting from continuous heavy loads,” he added.

Mr Amoako-Atta cited the instance where Ghana’s insistence on adherence to axle loads limits had resulted in the ports becoming less competitive due to the shift of freight to other countries where axle limits are not complied and enforced.

He charged the ECOWAS Commission to collectively agree to all agreed protocols and also act on ensuring that axle load limits are collectively agreed and enforced.

“Let us walk the talk, we should not disappoint the people, Africa is getting late in its development efforts if not late,” he stated.

Mr Amoako-Atta urged the participants to adopt measures to ensure sustainability and security of the regional transport system, and also called for the removal of all artificial barriers to ensure the movement of people and goods for the prosperity and development of the continent.

The ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Pathe Gueye, charged the participants to be committed to the project to ensure that decisions taken were fully implemented, and urged member states to regularly check and strictly adhere to the axle menace to protect the huge investments made in the road sector.

The Commissioner for Regional Market and Cooperation, Joaozinho Merdes, urged the steering committees to identify key projects that are eligible to European programmes.

He bemoaned the lack of progress in the implementation of the projects signed in 2017 which he said would have negative impact on the implementation of new programmes.

The representative of the EU delegation in the Burkina Faso, Andrea Leone, urged the ECOWAS Steering Committee to work towards blending their priority projects with the expectations of the EU support programmes.


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