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Tunis, 24 June 2010 - History was made on Thursday, 17 June 2010, when the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group-funded 443-km Bamenda–Enugu Multi-national Highway and Transport Facilitation Programme was launched at the Cameroon-Nigeria Joint Border Post at Mfum before a large crowd of dignitaries and End-users.
Cameroon’s delegation to the launch comprising over one hundred personalities was led by Public Works minister, Bernard Messengue Avom while the Nigerian side was represented by Works Minister, Mohammed Sanusi Dggash, accompanied by his deputy, Mr. Chris Ogiemwonyi.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included the Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Cross River State, the representative of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as representatives of ECOWAS, ECCAS and the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
The AfDB Group was represented by the Country Operations Director for West Africa, Janvier Litse, accompanied by Messrs Peter Sturnheit and Reni-Callie Okoro, from the Nigeria Field Office in Abuja.
Speeches, good-will messages and commitments were made in solidarity with the confidence-building road programme which comprises 203 kms of road rehabilitation and construction of the 100m Munaya Bridge in Cameroon.
The programme also involves a 240-km road rehabilitation and construction, pavement strengthening and construction of a 280-m bridge over Cross River at Mfum, Nigeria. It will also put in place a Joint Border Post at Mfum and sensitize end-users on the dangers of STI/AIDS as well as build social infrastructure along the corridor.
Highlights of the Launch included the unveiling of Plaques in Cameroon by works ministers of both countries and the inauguration of the programme’s Joint Technical Committee and Steering Committee.
In a keynote speech, Mr. Litse underscored the Bank Group’s commitment to the programme. He stressed the need to expedite action on the implementation of NEPAD short-term infrastructure action plan, poverty eradication in the sub-region and ending Africa’s marginalization in the global market.
He said it was necessary to harmonize measures for obtaining visa to facilitate movement of goods and persons within the road corridor, noting that African integration objectives can only be attained if each and everyone was truly willing to break the informal obstacles that fetter integration.
The programme, estimated at UA 276.72 million (USD 408 million), is being financed with an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of UA 188.64 million (USD 278 million)