Algerian President Houari Boumedienne on Thursday (April 26) formally opened the Trans-Sahara Highway which will eventually link the Mediterranean coast with countries south of the Sahara.
Algerian President Houari Boumedienne on Thursday (April 26) formally opened the Trans-Sahara Highway which will eventually link the Mediterranean coast with countries south of the Sahara. He inaugurated the first section of the highway -- a strip of tarmac that runs through the desert from the oasis town of El-Golea to In-Salah, 262 miles (420 kms) to the south. With the Algerian President were three other African heads of state, Presidents Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania, Moussa Traore of Mali and Hamani Diori of Niger. A ceremonial ribbon was cut by President Diori. Young Algerian National servicemen had just completed 22 months of work on the section, surfacing what was previously just a sandy track.
After the inauguration the four African leaders travelled to In-Salah to launch work on the second section which will run from In-Salah to Tamanrasset in the deep south. From there the road will fork into Niger and Mali. When it is completed, the road that is known as the "African Unity Road" will be 1,780 miles (2848 kms) long.
At In-Salah the four Presidents spoke to crowds of local people. President Boumedienne said that the road would help the African continent in its fight to eliminate under-development. President Diori said the time had come when africans must look to themselves and their potential and strengthen the bonds between each other. It was more than ever the moment that African must see that unity makes strength.
President Traore told the audience that although it was a quarter of a century since the colonial administration considered that Mauritania should be joined by road with Niger, it was only today that they found this was happening. President Daddah pointed out that the road was a new stage in the unity between the African and the Arab world.
A north-south road across the Sahara has long been an african dream. United Nations' studies have said that it would revolutionise the economy of the entire sub-Sahara region. There could be more intensive agriculture, including the farming of millet and wheat. Meat could be transported and underground water tapped. A large increase in mining and the growth of new settlements in the central Sahara could be expected, said the U.N. report.
On Friday (April 27) the four leaders met at El Golea for summit talks. Afterwards they announced that Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, the four main Sahara countries, had formed a loose "regional group".
SYNOPSIS: Four African heads of state, Presidents Houari Boumedienne of Algeria, Moussa Traore of Mali, Hamani Diori of Niger and Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania were at the formal opening of the Trans-Saharan Highway on Thursday. At the Algerian oasis town of El-Golea the first section which runs two hundred and sixty two miles to In-Salah was inaugurated.
More than eight hundred young Algerian national servicemen had worked for twenty-two months to lay the strip of tarmac through the desert.
The four leaders travelled south to In-Salah to launch the second section of the road known as the African Unity Road. It will run five hundred and sixty miles to Tamanrasset, Algeria's most southern big town. Eventually the road will fork down into Mali and Niger. It is expected to transform the economy of the sub-Sahara region.
It has long been an African dream to link the Mediterranean coast with countries south of the Sahara. At In-Salah the four President told crowds about the effect the highway would have.
President Boumedienne who formally opened the road said it would help the African continent in its fight to eliminate under-development.
President Diori said the time had come for Africans to look to themselves and to their potential and strengthen the bonds between each other. It was more than ever the moment to say that unity makes strength.
President Traore, pointed out that a quarter of a century ago colonial administrations said Mauritania should be linked with Niger. Only now was it being achieved.
President Ould Daddah said it was a new stage in the unity o the African and Arab worlds. On Friday the leaders announced they had formed a loose regional group.