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Opened on December 16, 2014 in Abidjan, the Henri Konan Bédié (HKB) Bridge is an enabler for urban mobility in the Ivorian economic capital. During the opening ceremony, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, made a speech on behalf of all the funders involved in the project, in the presence of the Ivorian Head of State, President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, and his predecessor, Henri Konan Bédié, after whom the new bridge has been named.
Kaberuka paid tribute to, " the Government, the promoter, and to financial partners for the tenacity that has led to numerous obstacles being overcome and our arrival at this result that we are celebrating today."
Costing 308 million euros, 20% of which (58 million euros) were provided by AfDB, the project undertaken within a public-private partnership (PPP) embodies the proven expertise of the Bank in the field of infrastructure. And this is not only in Côte d’Ivoire, as the Bank President highlighted. "Through interventions of this type here in Côte d’Ivoire, in Senegal, Nigeria and other African countries, AfDB has built up experience that now enables us to overcome these challenges.
“This bridge, like many others in Africa where the AfDB has been involved, also points to this emerging Africa, in spite of difficulties and challenges in places,” Kaberuka said.
Most of all, the new third bridge of the "Pearl of the Lagoons" is a reflection of this "Africa rising" that is seeing the emergence of ever more major cities or even megacities. "This is like the continent as a whole. Strong demographics; a very strong thrust of urbanisation," said Kaberuka.
Recalling that Abidjan generates nearly half (US $17 billion) of Côte d’Ivoire's GDP, he saw the new HKB Bridge as "the symbol of a new Côte d’Ivoire, which is not only building a physical bridge, but social bridges too."
As a side-note to the opening ceremony, Kaberuka was presented with the insignia of Grand Officer of the Ivorian Order of Merit by the Grand Chancellor Henriette Diabaté.