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In terms of infrastructure ECOWAS works in three key areas of Transport, Telecommunication and Energy. Over the years the Regional body had intervened severally to bring succour to states and citizens in need.

The Transport programme oversees the implementation of multimodal transport infrastructure and policies to promote physical cohesion among Member States and to facilitate the movement of persons, goods and services within the Community with special emphasis on increased access to island and land-locked countries.

Road Transport sector

The principal activity in the Road Transport sector has been the continued implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Road Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme. Key achievements for the year 2013 include the following:

ECOWAS Joint Border Posts Programme:

Tremendous progress was made on the physical construction of the Noepe Joint Border Post (JBP) between Ghana and Togo. The physical progress rose from about 50% to over 80% with the project expected to be handed over to ECOWAS and the two countries in December, 2013. The works and consultancy contracts for the Seme JBP came to an end in March 2013, and with a total progress under 30% completion, the European Union has given approval for the contract to be re-awarded under a framework contract. Works are expected to commence in November, 2013.

Axle Load Harmonization Policy

The Authority of Heads of State and Government during their February 2012 approved the Supplementary Act relating to the Harmonization of Standards and Procedures for the Control of Dimensions, Weight and Axle Load of Goods Vehicle within ECOWAS Member States. The Act subsequently received the full signature of all Heads of States and Governments in June, 2013. A Roadmap with timelines and specific activities for national Governments, private sector, seaports and other stakeholders, has been prepared for Member States to begin implementation. Full implementation is expected by June 2014.

Nigeria-Cameroon Multinational Highway and Transport Facilitation Programme as part of the Trans-Africa Highway programme

This Programme involves the rehabilitation of sections of the Enugu-Bemenda road between Nigeria and Cameroon. It also involves the construction of a Joint Border Post (JBP) and a border bridge at the Mfum border, as well as trade and transit facilitation components. The ECOWAS Commission successfully selected and negotiated a Consultancy Contract in April 2013, for the development of a legal framework for the Mfum JBP and for the harmonization of Axle Load control standards between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Within the framework of this project, the Commission successfully organized a study tour for members of the Joint Technical Committee, to the Walvis Bay Corridor Secretariat in Namibia to gain practical insights into the Corridor Management and Development. The delegation was made up of government officials from Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville.

Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Development Programme

In line with the Directives of the Presidents of the five countries along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor in February 2013, to construct a 6-Lane dual-carriage Highway from Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire through Accra, Lome, Cotonou to Lagos in Nigeria, the Commission held four meetings of the Steering Committee established by the Presidents to oversee the project. The Committee is made up of all the Road Infrastructure Ministers from the five countries.  The Commission in collaboration with Legal experts from the five member States has completed a Draft Treaty (Agreement) to be signed by the countries for the project. The Commission has also concluded the Terms of Reference for feasibility and detailed design studies for the highway construction. These were validated by the Steering Committee at the last meeting on 17th September, 2013, in Accra.

Trans-Gambia transport corridor

This includes the construction of the Trans-Gambia Bridge and Joint Border Posts (JBP) as well as the rehabilitation of 137 km of roads connecting the northern and southern parts of both The Gambia and Senegal. The AfDB in July, 2013 initiated the process of conducting a detailed study for the establishment of the JBP and the Border Procedures and Processes along the Trans-Gambia Bridge.

Railways sub sector

In the Railways sub sector, detailed engineering studies of the Kaya-Dory-Niamey link connecting the Abidjan-Ouagadougou railway line to the Republic of Niger was initiated with funding from the European Union in 2010 and is expected to end by 31st December 2013. Due to unforeseen difficulties that hampered progress of the work of the Consultants, the Commission and the European Commission are considering a request for an extension by three and half more months, bringing the new end date to 14th April, 2014.

Air Transport sub sector

The objective of the Air Transport sub-sector is to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision for air transport liberalization, strengthen aviation safety and security, enhance capacity building for the Civil Aviation Authorities within the region, facilitate operation and cooperation of West African airlines and other relevant stakeholders (airports, air navigation services providers, ground handling companies).

ECOWAS Commission has been assisting member States to provide a safe reliable and coordinated air transport system that can provide regular air links among the member States as well as exploring means of ensuring equitable access of eligible airlines to the West African air transport market.

The achievements of Air Transport Project during the year 2013 are in accordance with the ECOWAS Air Transport Action Plan 2009-2015, and include the following:

Fostering the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) for air transport liberalization:

Nine (9) Supplementary Acts were adopted on 17th February 2012 relating to the following air transport economic regulations: Ground Handling, Slot Allocation, Denied Boarding, Approval of Air Carrier, Market Access, Air Tariffs, Liability of Air Carrier in case of an Accident, Exemptions to Rules of Competition; Aviation Security. Within this framework, a coordinating meeting of ECOWAS/UEMOA/World Bank was held on 10 and 11 July 2013 in Abidjan, the 43rd Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja on 17 July 2013 made commitment to fast track implementation of the YD in West Africa. The on-going activity is preparation of publication of the Supplementary Acts before end 2013.

Strengthening of aviation safety & security:

Drafting of a Regulation on Aviation Security in order to complement the newly adopted Supplementary Act on Aviation Security dated 17 February 2012 during a Seminar on Aviation Security (AVSEC) held in Dakar from 26 to 28 February 2013; Finalization and closing of the Phase 1 of COSCAP Programme for Aviation Safety Oversight in West Africa funded by the ADB grant and preparation of the Phase 2; Participation in the Steering Committee of the ACP/project for air transport and satellite in Africa (SAFA); Training on Logistic Response for Humanitarian Air Services, 16-24 June 2013 in Brindisi, Italy; and, Organization of an ECOWAS/ICAO Seminar on Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) in Niamey, from 27-29 August 2013 in response to persistent terrorist threats against civil aviation in West Africa.

Promotion of a Viable Airline Industry in ECOWAS region:

Meetings of the Steering Committee of ECOWAS airlines held in Lome in March 2013 and in Accra in  July 2013 with a view to fostering cooperation (interline agreements, code sharing, consortium, joint venture, alliances, mergers, etc.) among airlines in the region.

Implementation of ECOWAS Air Transport flagship projects:

Creation of an Aircraft Leasing Company (Brazilian EMBRAER and BNDES expressed interest for joint venture during an exploratory mission in Brazil from 19 – 23 August 2013), establishment of a Regional Aircraft Maintenance Facility, creation of a Database/Information System–Observatory, Master plan for ECOWAS Airports (a feasibility study is to be launched financed by PPDU).

Negotiation of air service agreements with third parties:

Workshop (in Lome from 15-19 June 2013) and meeting of Air transport Committee (in Banjul from 21-23 October 2013) were held for preparation of negotiations for ECOWAS/EU (Horizontal) Agreement on certain aspects of air services and for negotiations for ECOWAS/Brazil based on the proposed draft Air Services agreement by ANAC-Brazil.

Aeronautical cooperation:

With main aviation organizations TCB/ICAO, IATA, EU, ECAC, AFCAC, Brazil, BAG and UEMOA, in different areas of civil aviation notably a Coordination Meeting in Roma, Italy, from 8-11 May 2013 between ECOWAS and World Food Programme (WFP) for the implementation of the Technical Agreement signed on 17 October 2012; Coordination Meeting ECOWAS/ECAC in Montreal, Canada, on 30 September 2013 for the implementation of the MOU on Civil Aviation signed on 11 July 2013; Participation in the ICAO/6th World Conference on Air Transport in Montreal, Canada, from March 18-22, 2013; Participation in the 23rd Plenary Session of the African Civil aviation Commission (AFCAC) in Accra,  from 2-5 April 2013; Participation in the ICAO Symposium on Aviation and Climate Change held in Montreal, Canada, from 14-16 May 2013; and Participation in the 38th ICAO Assembly in Montreal, Canada, from 24 September to 4 October 2013.

Financial resource mobilization:

Negotiations are still on going with the AfDB for a grant and with the World Bank which carried out a study in order to right-size its financial assistance.


The telecommunications priority is the development of a reliable and modern regional Telecoms broadband infrastructure including the INTELCOM II programme, alternative broadband infrastructures and sub marine cables as well as the establishment of single liberalized telecoms market.

By 2013, eleven (11) coastal member States were connected to submarine cables with at least one (1) new landing station and the three landlocked countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) have now at least 2 access routes to the submarine cables.

A detailed feasibility study including business plan is ongoing on the missing inter-states links in the ECOWAS region with a focus on Mano River countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea), Mali and Guinea Bissau. Two studies to develop a harmonized law on the right of way to facilitate transit and reduce cost for the access to submarine cables by ECOWAS landlocked countries and another on taxation on Telecommunication/ICT services and related products in the region, being funded by the ITU through the HIPSSA project and the AfDB respectively, have been completed and validated by the Member States. The draft regulation to facilitate access of landlocked countries will be reviewed next year for validation prior to its submission to the Ministers.

Many ECOWAS Countries have drafted and adopted a national Law on Cyber security in compliance with Community texts in order to secure cyber space including Child Online Protection (COP).

The eleventh meeting of the ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecoms/ICT adopted common minimum technical specifications for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receivers in the ECOWAS region to ensure their affordability and a Roadmap for the implementation of the DTT. The ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecom/ICT after officially set up adopted the Convention on the West African Postal Conference (WAPCO) as well as the Rules of Procedure of the WAPCO, requested ECOWAS to support the activities of WAPCO, and in the mid-term, transform WAPCO into a Specialized Agency for Postal Sector. The Ministers also agreed to work with telecommunications operators in the region to implement a proposal for a 50% region-wide reduction in the cost of telecommunications services on the ECOWAS Day (May 28th) for the benefit of the citizens and for the regional integration purpose.


During 2013, the emergency electrical energy supply programme of Conakry was fully implemented and three other emergency programmes adopted, namely (i) the emergency programme for electrical energy supply to Grand Banjul, (ii) the emergency programme for the supply of electrical energy to Freetown and (iii) the special Programme for Mali.

Following a financing request submitted to ECOWAS by the Gambia, Mali and Sierra Leone seeking support for their distressing electricity supply problem, these requests were analysed by evaluation missions fielded to those countries and successively adopted by the 10th meeting of Energy Ministers and the Council of Ministers. The Commission, thus, made a budget allocation of US$108 million for these programmes as follows:

The Gambia for electricity supply to Banjul:  24.8 million Euros (US$31.90 million).  This project relates to the rehabilitation and maintenance of the means of production, purchase of fuel, NAWEC and Ministry of Energy capacity building, capacity, reparation, implementation, supervision and monitoring-evaluation;

Mali for fuel and the rehabilitation of the means of production and electricity networks of the liberated zones; and

Sierra Leone: US$21.80 million: The project comprises the current maintenance aspect of the power plant, purchase of fuel, purchase of pre-paid meters for revenue improvement, and urgent rehabilitation of the transport and electrical energy distribution network.

Besides the adoption of the three projects above, the 10th meeting of the Council of Energy Ministers held in May 2013, approved other projects in conformity with the decisions of the 42nd Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

With a view to increasing energy services, especially support to Member states in the process of adherence to the sustainable energy initiative for all, the Commission performed analytical studies on the gaps and the elaboration of the plans of action.  The consultants entrusted with the task lent support to the member States with a view to ensuring the region’s total adherence to the process. An Experts meeting was, therefore, convened in September 2013 to validate the studies and align the objectives of the White Paper to the Energy for All Initiative. Lastly, a training workshop on Gas and Access to Energy was convened in Abidjan in November 2013 with the support of UNIDO and the International Gas Association, mainly aimed at developing the capacities of the sectors’ stakeholders.





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