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Special Report : Côte d'Ivoire

A strategic scale

Par Francine Yao - Publié en janvier 2022
Once completed, the Yopougon-Plateau bridge will ease traffic congestion..NABIL ZORKOT
Once completed, the Yopougon-Plateau bridge will ease traffic congestion..NABIL ZORKOT

The government continues to invest in this crucial sector to boost the country's competitiveness .

Quality infrastructure is a major factor in increasing economic competitiveness. The government of Côte d'Ivoire, which has ambitious development goals, is not skimping on the means to launch large-scale projects that will serve as catalysts for the country's growth. To this end, and in view of the congestion in Greater Abidjan, they have focused on developing the lagoon transport system and the Abidjan metro. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project has also been fast-tracked. It consists of building a network of dedicated public transport lines. According to the Minister of Transport, Amadou Koné, the State has concluded agreements with both the Swedish government and the World Bank to finance the construction of the BRT on the Boulevard Latrille and on the Yopougon-Bingerville route. This work is expected to begin in 2022.

The Metro, a dream that is taking shape 

​​​​​​​Innovative, revolutionary... there is no shortage of adjectives to describe Abidjan's future underground railway system. Although the project was launched in November 2017, there have been difficulties in getting it off the ground, mainly due to financing costs. However, negotiations around the start of the work, between the executive and the French company Bouygues, the focal point of the consortium involved, finally led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two parties on 8 October 2019. The investment, estimated at around 918.34 billion CFA francs (or 1.4 billion euros), will be financed entirely by France. This consortium (made up of French companies Bouygues Travaux Publics, Alstom, Colas Rail and Keolis) is in charge of the construction. According to the Côte d'Ivoire government, construction is expected to start around mid-2022, with the first phase of the project being delivered in 2025.​​​​​​​

The metro line will feature two tracks, 18 stations, 21 bridges (rail and road), and a viaduct over the Ebrié Lagoon. The track right-of-way will be completely secured and fenced off to ensure that the train, which has a maximum speed of 100 km/h, and 80 km/h in operating conditions, can be used to its full potential. It will run every 10 minutes and transport around 500,000 passengers a day, over 37.9 kilometres, between Anyama (north of Abidjan) and Port-Bouët (south of Abidjan).

The government is also stepping up road infrastructure projects in the economic capital. This includes, among others, the construction of the fourth Yopougon-Plateau bridge. At a cost of 142 billion CFA francs, financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Ivorian government, this project aims to increase mobility in the city by reducing traffic jams between Yopougon-Plateau and Yopougon-Adjamé and by relieving congestion on the northern highway. It’s a colossal project, comprising a 2x3 lane roadway separated by a 20 metre median strip (creating the crossing area for Abidjan's second urban train on the Yopougon side over a little more than 4 kilometres), three interchanges on the main lanes intersected by the project in  Yopougon, an 850-metre toll plaza at Attécoubé, a 1.4-kilometre bridge over the Baie du Banco, three interchanges or ramps at the Boulevard de la Paix intersection, and lastly, a 2x2-lane carriageway between the end of the Boribana interchange and Indénié. Work on the Plateau-Cocody bridge is also making excellent progress. 

Other major projects underway include the construction of the Abidjan ring road and the doubling of the eastern and western exit ramps. The main bypass of the economic capital, known as the Y4, is a dual carriageway designed to avoid the city centre by linking the towns of Songon, Abobo-Anyama, Cocody and Port-Bouët, thus facilitating access to the port area of Abidjan. The 15 km long section 2 of the Y4 will link the municipality of Anyama to the northern highway. Section 3 will connect the latter to the town of Songon, an extension of the city of Abidjan. As for the splitting of the eastern and western exits, work has begun on the western section. The extension of the Dabou road runs from the northern highway to the Jacqueville intersection. The work is scheduled for completion in March 2022.

According to Amadou Koné, the Minister of Transport, construction of the Aerocité on 50 hectares of land in the Akwaba area, which was due to start this year, is being held up by a lack of budgetary allocation required to fulfil the contractual commitments with the consultant (who has been involved in the project since 2015). The amount is 150 million CFA francs, Amadou Koné told MPs on 18 November. The project, which was declared to be in the public interest in 2010, consists of the building and operation of an airport town on the outskirts of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Airport (Port-Bouët), covering an area of 3,700 hectares, in addition to the area conceded to Aéria, the airport concessionaire. The aim is to build hotel, industrial, commercial and sports complexes, as well as public facilities.

A modern exhibition centre is also planned for this Aerocité development. Located between the Akwaba crossroads and the international airport, it will be able to host national and international trade fairs, as well as political, cultural and religious conventions, and sporting events.

Progress inland

Elsewhere, further inland, work on the Coastal road began on 18 September 2021, at a cost of over 300 billion CFA francs. It involves the upgrading of this 353.5 km road that links Abidjan to San Pedro, the country's second port city. Another project underway is the extension of the 106 km Yamoussoukro-Bouaké highway. Work began on 3 October 2017. Originally scheduled to take 24 months, the duration was re-estimated at four years. There have, however, been delays in the construction work due to the Covid-19 health crisis. According to the Minister of Equipment and Road Maintenance, Amédé Kouakou, the project has reached its final phase, with the road surfacing being the only remaining work to be done. Also, to accommodate and satisfy the needs of the population in terms of urban mobility, SOTRA (Société des transports abidjanais) has extended its operations to Bouaké and the company intends to continue expanding into in the cities of Yamoussoukro, Korhogo and San Pedro.

​​​​​​​The country is putting the finishing touches to the six stadiums that will be used for the 2023 African Cup of Nations. They are the Ebimpé Olympic stadium (60,000 seats) on the outskirts of Abidjan; the Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium (33,000 seats) in Abidjan; the San Pedro stadium (20,000 seats) in the west of the country; and the stadiums in Bouaké (40,000 seats), Korhogo (20,000 seats) and Yamoussoukro (20,000 seats), all in the centre of the country.

Lastly, the national broadband network (RNHD), known as the National Backbone, is in its completion phase. It will consist of a 7,000 km fibre-optic network and is intended to contribute, in the long term, to large-scale access to telecommunications systems and information and communication technologies. It will promote the creation of new jobs and boost the national digital economy. With the RNHD programme, 1,400 kilometres of fibre optics have been deployed in the western region and 622 kilometres in the eastern part. The last 5,000 kilometres, currently under construction, will complete the full coverage of the country.

The government is not skimping on the means to launch large-scale projects that will serve as catalysts .