Seme, 4 June 2022 (TDI): Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of AfCFTA paid a visit to Ghana’s Seme border post on Friday. Seme is a site of the Abidjan-Lagos corridor. Deputy Trade Minister of Ghana, Herbert Krapa, and the Director-General of Nigeria Trade Negotiations, Yonov Fred Agah accompanied Mene during his visit.

The Abidjan-Lagos corridor is consistent with AfCFTA’s goal of promoting regional market integration. Thus, as AfCFTA Secretariat expressed, the visit aimed to ensure smooth trade facilitation along the corridor. Meanwhile, Mene also said that he will work hard to enhance the corridor’s efficiency of transit. Coping with relevant infrastructural challenges will make this achievable.

Why is Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Significant?

Abidjan-Lagos corridor is a sub-regional project with beneficiary countries. Those countries are Togo, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Benin. The coastal transport corridor has a six-lane dual carriageway highway which is 1052 km long. The highway contains significant West African cities: Abidjan, Lagos, Accra, Lome, and Cotonou.

Moreover, by linking crucial coastal cities in West Africa, the corridor carries over 75% of the trade volume in West Africa. Meanwhile, such a facility also contributes to sustaining the free flow of persons, and trade and improving the economies of the Corridor states.

There are four main stakeholders which make the project come to reality. Three of them are preparation funders, which are African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Commission (EC), and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). Concurrently, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS-CEDEAO) takes the responsibility as a regional coordinator.

AfCFTA Abidjan - Lagos Corridor
A map of the Abidjan – Lagos Corridor in West Africa.
Abidjan-Lagos Corridor and Its Potential for Regional Digitization

Besides improving basic logistic conditions, the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, a project costing 3000.00 million USD for its capital expenditures, has the potential to contribute to regional digitization. Currently, according to the Aid-for-trade organization TradeMark East Africa, there is an infrastructure deficit along the corridor.

The deficit refers to the conflicting rules and standards, and a lack of digitized customs systems. Similarly, West African national systems also lack digital connectivity to communicate with each other. Therefore, the Abidjan-Lagos corridor will be able to make progress for regional digitization while improving itself.

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