Financial Closure Ceremony for the Henry Konan Toll Bridge Project in Abidjan - AfDB’s first private sector operation in Côte d’Ivoire in over a decade

06/07/2012
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The financial closing ceremony for the construction, operation and maintenance of the Henry Konan Bedie Toll Bridge Project in Abidjan ('Abidjan’s 3rd bridge') was held at the White & Case law firm Paris on 28 June in a ceremony attended by the Ivorian Minister of Economy and Finance, Charles Koffi Diby and the Minister of Economic Infrastructure, Patrick Achi.

As the transaction’s Mandated Lead Arranger, with a financial contribution of EUR 58 million for a total project cost of 272 million Euros, the African Development Bank (AfDB) continues to mark its firm commitment to lead and actively contribute to Côte d’Ivoire’s reconstruction efforts. As such, AfDB has played a leading and honest broker role in structuring and negotiating the transaction.

The 1.9 km long bridge which connects the towns of Riviera and Marcory over the Ébrié lagoon is funded by a group of Development Finance Institutions (African Finance Corporation, AfDB, Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development, West African Development Bank, and the Dutch Development Bank), a commercial bank (Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce Extérieur), an infrastructure development fund (Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund), the project sponsor (Bouygues Group), and the Ivorian Government. The project is structured as a public-private partnership (PPP) and will be implemented under a 30-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concession agreement granted to Socoprim, a company registered in Cote d’Ivoire. The project’s sponsor and main strategic partner is the Bouygues Group, a French leading construction and concession conglomerate.

It is worth noting that in 1999, the project was part of a comprehensive infrastructure development program entitled "The Twelve Tasks of the African Elephant." The project had reached the financial closure stage with the participation of AfDB and BOAD which have since reiterated their commitment to the project. The project is now an integral part of the "Grand Abidjan" programme which aims at implementing the city’s master plan.

The project is expected to make a significant contribution to the country's economic recovery by improving the quality of basic infrastructure, relieving heavy traffic congestion in the city centre, and compensating for the planned temporary closure of the Houphouet-Boigny Bridge, one of the two existing bridges crossing the lagoon, while it undergoes major structural repairs and upgrading works.

Signing on behalf of AfDB, AfDB’s Manager for Infrastructure Finance, Ms. Tas Anvaripour said during the ceremony “[…] I am delighted to see all of the project’s stakeholders gathered here today on the occasion of this signing ceremony which I see as a testimony of the unwavering commitment, resilience, and support that lenders, investors, sponsors, and the Government alike have displayed towards making this project a reality. The African Development Bank is particularly proud to stand alongside Côte d’Ivoire as it embarks onto its ambitious recovery and development agenda, in which infrastructure is bound to play a crucial role. By adding a new link over the Ébrié lagoon, the HKB Toll Bridge will help reduce traffic congestion on Abidjan’s road network, thus reducing transport costs and travel times, cutting harmful CO2 emissions, and increasing the local economy’s competitiveness, which is at the heart of the country’s economic recovery […].“

The Bridge works is the first of a number of PPP infrastructure projects that the Ivorian Government has planned to deploy in the coming years as part of its recovery strategy and which AfDB is committed to lead and/or participate in actively.