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AfDB commits US $40.8 million to reinforce the Lomé–Cotonou Road and protect it against coastal erosion

12/01/2017
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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved on Friday, December 16, 2016 a US $40.8-million loan to the Republics of Benin and Togo to finance the upgrading into a four-lane 30-kilometre road section linking the capitals of both countries, as well as an important program of coastal protection.

The project will reinforce and secure the missing link on the Togolese portion of the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, a strategic route for the movement of people and goods in Western Africa. As a consequence the project will consolidate regional integration and improve living condition of 1.7 million people living in the project area.

Located on the major axis linking Togo and Benin, the Avépozo–Aného road section is particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion and faces a rising traffic volumes. Through this project, the Bank aims to improve the level of service of the transport logistical chain and traffic, as well as strengthen the climate resilience of infrastructure in coastal areas in Togo and Benin. The construction of 28 barriers, or groynes, and reinforcement of sand on exposed beaches aims to reduce erosion of the coastline from 20 metres per year to 1 metre a year.

Like all the coastal countries in the sub-region, Togo and Benin have an interconnected coastal and marine environment, which is densely populated with heavy infrastructure and industries and along with economic centres or capital cities. However, these coastal areas are frequently subject to flooding and erosion, which cause considerable damage. The situation threatens the livelihood of coastal communities and nearby coastal infrastructure, drastically reducing the potential for economic development along the coast.

“The combined construction of the road and coastal protection infrastructure will not only improve the level of service between Lomé and Cotonou – it will most of all preserve human lives, the national territory and socio-economic infrastructure of great importance such as the Abidjan–Lagos corridor,” said Lydie Ehouman, Transport Economist at the AfDB.

The coastal erosion works will be completed by an institutional support program for authorities of both countries. The project will finance in particular the establishment of a coastal protection management structure, the launch of coastal protection studies, the setting up of an early warning system alongside sensitization campaigns targeted at the vulnerable populations.

“It’s an important step in the protection of the entire Togolese and Beninese coast, as it will enable development of a coherent, comprehensive and multi-dimensional program to fight against coastal erosion in both countries,” said Ehouman.

“The project demonstrates the attention paid by the Bank to the questions of resilience and durability of infrastructures, in particular in a context of vulnerability to climate change. This preoccupation is in line with the core mission of the Bank, which is the promotion of an inclusive and sustainable growth,” said Amadou Oumarou, Director of the Bank’s Transport and ICT Department.

Concerning the level of service on the corridor itself, the project will facilitate the activities of the logistic operators, financing also a one-stop border post at the Togo/Benin border, and promoting customs systems harmonization. Once complete in 2020, the average travel time between Lomé and Cotonou is expected to be reduced from 11 hours to five hours for trucks.

The project is jointly financed by the African Development Fund (ADF), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the European Union (EU), the West African Development Bank (BOAD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and the Government of Togo for an estimated cost of US $187.1 million.

Bank financing makes up US $40.8 million or 21.82% of the project cost, with an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of US $1.4 million to the Republic of Benin, an ADF loan of US $12.5 million to the Republic of Togo, a US $25.6 million Transition Support Facility (TSF) loan, an ADF grant of US $1.3 million and a TSF grant of US $0.04 million.