The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) have approved a US$40.8 Million loan on Friday 16th December 2016 to the Republics of Benin and Togo to finance the upgrading of a 30-kilometre road section linking the capitals of both countries into a four-lane highway, as well as an important programme 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.
Consequently, the project will consolidate regional integration and improve the living condition of 1.7 million people living in the project area.
Located on the major axis linking Togo and Benin, the Avépozo to Aného road section is particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion and faces 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 the coastal areas of 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, along with economic centres or capital cities.
These coastal areas are frequently subjected 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.
Lydie Ehouman, Transport Economist at the AfDB said “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.”
An institutional support program will complete the coastal erosion works for the 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.
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.