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    Trans-Saharan Highway project

    The Trans-Saharan Highway project has been several decades in the making and received a new lease on life with the founding of the New Partnership for Development in Africa, especially as one of its aspects deals with regional integration projects. The road will be the route for a fibre optic link between Algeria and South Africa. It will also be the route followed by an oil pipeline which will supply Nigerian oil to Europe via Algeria.

    The Algerian Minister of Public Works, Amar Ghoul, announced in Algiers on Wednesday (April 4th) that roughly 7,000 km of the highway have been completed, constituting approximately three-fourths of the total distance of 9,800 km. The highway will ultimately link Algiers to the Nigerian capital of Lagos, passing through Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

    The minister, speaking at the opening of the 47th session of the Trans-Saharan Highway Liaison Committee (CLRT), was delighted with the significant developments made on this long-standing project. "The CLRT officials, who have been working for a long time, and with limited financial resources, have managed to make a large part of their ideas a reality on the ground," he stressed.

    "However, there is still much work to do," said Ghoul, pointing out the urgent need to remove all the technical and financial obstacles to completing the remaining 2,800 km.

    Aside from the Algerian portion (3,000 km), which is adequately financed, the Trans-Saharan project has been funded in part by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), both represented at the meeting.

    Of the remaining 2,800 km, some 600 km lie on Algerian territory, said CLRT Secretary-General Mohamed Ayadi, who expects completion of this segment of the road before the end of 2008.

    Ghoul declared that a thousand kilometres of the Algerian stretch should be converted to a dual carriageway in the medium term.

    In Niger, a 250 km section remains to be built, as well as the 600 km link between the Algeria-Mali border and the Malian town of Bourem.

    The major leg from Agadez to Zender in Mali measures 200 km in length. Work on this span began in February, and 50 km have already been completed.

    Work on the 200 km section from Arlit to the Algerian border has been scheduled for later this year, according to Ayadi, who says that the funds needed to complete these legs are now available.

    Since it was begun in the mid-1970s, the Trans-Saharan Highway project, previously called the "Road of African Unity" is believed to have cost more than 400m dollars.


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    Another way of looking at 'progress':

    ALGIERS, April 10 (AFP) More than 30 years after it began, funding problems have left the Trans-Saharan road project, which would open up huge areas of African desert, far from its destination.

    The planned route from the Algerian capital to Lagos in Nigeria aims to link up the Maghreb to the African countries south of the Sahara.

    During a meeting in Algiers of the six countries involved this week, Algerian Public Transport Minister Amar Ghoul said 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) of a total 10,000 km (6,213 miles) of road still needed building.

    Nigeria has completed its 1,300 kilometres (808 miles) of road and so has Tunisia - but Algeria, Chad, Niger and Mali are yet to finish their sections.

    The situation has barely changed since the last meeting of the liaison committee on the Trans-Saharan route (CLRT), which sees the countries meet twice a year to discuss the project's progress.

    Almost half of the stretch that still needs building does not have financing, including a 600-km part in Mali, 200 km in Niger and 600 km in Chad, the CLRT said.

    Despite a tentative economic revival in Algeria, construction work has been held up by a lack of funding, and Ghoul urged his African partners to prepare a dossier to present to investors at their next meeting in September in Paris.

    The committee's general secretary, Mohammed Ayadi, put the cost of each kilometre of road at about 100,000 euros (133,669 dollars).

    According to Hocine Necib, Algeria's director of roads, the missing sections "will not be built until all the financial resources are mobilised."

    He called for participating countries to set a deadline for the project, which was originally due to finish in 2010.

    Another sticking point is the weak trade links between the Trans-Saharan partners. CLRT general secretary Ayadi warned that this had to change because the profitability of the project depended on it.

    The road's promoters are relying in part on the new Trans-Saharan gas pipeline, which will link up Nigeria and Algeria via Niger from 2015, to improve commercial relations.

    Alongside the 4,000-kilometre-long (2,485-mile) pipeline will be a fibre optic cable which will link up the six countries.

    The pipeline is to cost an estimated 10 billion dollars (7.5 billion euros) and, with a capacity of 20 to 30 billion cubic metres per year (700 to 1,000 cubic foot), is aimed primarily at supplying Europe.

    The main sections that still need building are: in Algeria, between Tamanrasset and In-Gezzam, towards Niger, and Tamanrasset to Timiaouine, towards Mali; in Chad, between the Nigerian border and N'Djamena; in Mali between Bourem and Timiaouine, on the Algerian border; and in Niger between Agadez and Zinder and Inguezam and Arlit.


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    Mardi 17 juillet 2007 -- L’Algérie et le Nigeria, de même que la Tunisie ont achevé leurs parties du projet de route transsaharienne devant relier Alger à Abuja sur 9800 kilomètres, selon le ministre des Travaux publics, Amar Ghoul. Pour ce dernier, il reste encore à réaliser les parties nigérienne, tchadienne et malienne de ce projet, le problème du financement se posant notamment pour la réalisation de 600 kilomètres au Mali.

    En rappelant que l’Algérie est concernée par la réalisation de 3000 km dont le coût a été estimé à plus de 400 millions de dollars, ayant consacré 250 millions de dollars pour parachever un tronçon restant (600 kilomètres). Lors de tables rondes ou des récentes sessions du Comité de liaison de la route transsaharienne (CLRT), (regroupant l'Algérie, la Tunisie, le Tchad, le Niger, le Nigeria et le Mali), notre pays a toujours appelé à une contribution plus importante des bailleurs de fonds et institutions financières internationales. Le problème du financement qui sera soulevé lors du prochain congrès mondial des routes qui se tiendra en septembre dans la capitale française et où l’Algérie a été mandatée par les pays africains pour y formuler les attentes du continent noir.


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    November 29, 2007 -- The 48th session of the Trans-Saharan Highway Liaison Committee opened here on Thursday with representatives from Mali, Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria, Chad and Niger, APA learnt here.

    The Trans-Saharan Highway is among the nine major trans-Africa highways set to "enhance the road network in our states,” Niger Equipment Minister Moumouni Lamido said.

    The highways include the Cairo-Dakar, Algiers-Lagos, Tripoli-Windhoek, Cairo-Gaborone, Dakar-N’Djamena, N’Djamena-Djibouti, Lagos-Dakar, Lagos-Mombasa, and Beira-Lobito corridors.

    « The Trans-Saharan highway is perfectly in line with the vision of the African Union vision and the NEPAD programme, » Lamido said.

    The regional economic communities in the continent « had undertaken actions to develop the infrastructures and facilitate the movement of goods and people, » he added.

    The Trans-Saharan Highway, due to link the six member countries (Algeria, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Tunisia), will also help « link peoples sharing the same history and separated by the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, » he said.

    Once completed, the Trans-Saharan Highway will foster investments in each member state and increase inter-regional exchanges, he said.

    The Trans-Saharan Highway, whose main section is Algiers-Lagos which is over 4,500 km long, covers secondary branches such as Zinder-N’Guigmi (Niger), the Chadian border and others in Mali and Chad.

    The progress of the Algiers-Lagos is « very satisfactory, » Lamido said.

    Once completed, the Trans-Saharan Highway will go along way in reducing the time of transit between Europe and Niger where maritime transport through the Cotonou and Lomé Ports causes long delays.


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    January 27, 2008 -- The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to lend $362 million to partially finance the Algiers-Lagos Trans-Saharan highway, APS reported on Saturday (January 26th). The announcement was made by IDB President Ahmed Mohamed Ali at a January 24th round table on infrastructure development in Saly Portudal, Senegal.

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    Samia Amine :


    Mardi 18 Mars 2008 -- Considéré comme facteur important dans le développement économique de la région, le méga projet panafricain de route transsaharienne devrait être réceptionné dans quatre ans, a appris aujourd’hui toutsurlalgerie.com d’une source proche des constructeurs.

    Prévue sur une longueur de 9 000 kilomètres, la Transsaharienne traversera six pays : l’Algérie, le Mali, le Niger, le Nigeria, le Tchad et la Tunisie.

    Une enveloppe financière de l’ordre de 400 millions de dollars a été jusqu’à présent déboursée.

    L’achèvement de ce projet, lancé dans les années 1970, sera d’une aide précieuse d’abord pour le transport du pétrole.

    «Les pétroliers et les professionnels des autoroutes de l’information ont maintenant besoin du goudron à travers tout le Sahara, voilà pourquoi la Transsaharienne va être achevée, cette fois», explique cette source qui précise que le taux d’avancement du projet a dépassé les 75 %, soit environ 7 000 kilomètres de routes bitumées. Un tronçon de 300 kilomètres, reliant In Salah à Tamanrasset en Algérie, doit également être réhabilité.

    Les spécialistes de ce secteur restent convaincus que la route transsaharienne est «nécessaire au développement des échanges économiques entre ces six pays». L’important retard accusé dans la réalisation de cette gigantesque infrastructure est lié à la mobilisation des capitaux, ont-ils noté.

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