In Africa, the Ivory Coast has embarked on a major project to modernise and expand an international network of highways.
In Africa, the Ivory Coast has embarked on a major project to modernise and expand an international network of highways. The first step towards this goal was taken on Friday (20 October) when Africa's largest asphalt plant was officially opened in the capital, Abidjan.
SYNOPSIS: The production plant, which will eventually produce 288,000 tonnes of asphalt a year, cost about sixty million U.S. dollars (12 milliard 560 million CFA francs).
The opening ceremony was performed by the Ivory Coast's Minister of Social Reform' Mr. Mathieu Ekra. Also present were the mining ministers from Upper Volta, Mali, Togo, Ghana and Nigeria -- countries which are all involved in the asphalt project. An important part of the highway scheme will be an international road link extending from Monrovia, in Liberia, to Lagos, Nigeria and then crossing Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
The asphalt production plant also was backed financially by France and Venezuela. The foundation stone was laid in January last year. Ivory Coast President, Felix Houphouet - Boigny, says that when complete, the highway network will go a long way towards bringing foreign export markets closer to the country.
The highway will link remote parts of the Ivory Coast to major centres, and President Houphouet Boigny believes it will also be essential in reducing regional disparities in his country.