Algerian President Houari Boumedienne inaugurated a new stretch of the Trans-Saharan Highway on Tuesday (20 June).
Algerian President Houari Boumedienne inaugurated a new stretch of the Trans-Saharan Highway on Tuesday (20 June). It is hoped that the road across the desert will eventually link Algeria with Mali and Niger, as well as Nigeria.
SYNOPSIS: The highway is aimed at reducing the length and cost of carrying goods from the Algerian coast to sub-Saharan Africa. The black???p road is being built by Algerian national servicemen, and Algeria is responsible for a 1,200 miles (1931 kilometres) section. By using young army recruits as road-builders, the Algerians have been able to keep costs to about half what they would have been if commercial contractors had handled the job.
The first section was completed five years age. On Tuesday, President Boumedienne arrived at Tamanrasset to mark the completion of another 700 miles (1100 kilometres) towards the Nigerian border. Though conditions are difficult, the road has been advancing by about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometres) a day. The Trans-Saharan Highway has been called the 'road of African unity' -- and Mali and Niger are being aided towards the cost of their sections by the United Nations Development Fund.
As the President conducted the opening celebrations, the Algerian government approved a special programme for the Saharan regions of the country. It is aimed at uniting the mineral-rich desert areas to the more advanced north, and the new highway is destined to paly an important role in the plan. But, for now, regular truck traffic between Algiers and Lag???s continues to travel much of the way over rough desert trails, and treacherous, shifting sand dunes. It will be some years before the whole journey can be made on a surfaced road.