• Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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French minister lauds multimillion dollar transport investments in Lagos by France

French Minister’s visit to Lagos, Nigeria

The multimillion dollar commitments by France to development in Lagos state, especially public transportation, have been lauded by Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie, and International Partnerships, who recently visited the state.

During her visit to Nigeria for the inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, she took the opportunity to inspect mobility projects supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) in Lagos State.

Over the past 12 years, France, through the AFD, has invested a total of 700 million USD in the development of Lagos State. Out of this, 350 million USD has been allocated to the development of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS). These investments have played a pivotal role in reducing travel time and costs for millions of Lagosians, while also making a significant impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

During her visit, Zacharopoulou received a briefing on urban mobility challenges at the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) by Abimbola Akinajo, managing director, of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

Akinajo said. “Lagosians currently spend an average of 30 hours weekly in traffic, with up to 40 percent of their monthly incomes on transportation, compared to the international standard of 15 percent.

The LSTMP project aims to substantially reduce travel time and costs for millions of Lagosians, taking the multi-modal transport system in Lagos State to the next level.”

Subsequently, the Minister embarked on a boat trip around Lagos Island and had the opportunity to see the major infrastructures under two key projects supported by France: the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (LSTMP) project and the Waterways Investment and Development of the Environment in Lagos State (WIDE-LAG) project.

After her trip, Zacharopoulou stated, “I am impressed by my field visit this morning to witness the fruition of the partnership between France and Lagos State. “We are committed to cutting down its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent and to reach carbon neutrality before 2050. I am delighted to see that Nigeria and Lagos State, in particular, are going in the same direction through the decarbonisation of the transport sector”

The ongoing LSTMP project aims to improve access to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system by constructing four Quality Bus Corridors (QBCs) covering a total length of 28km.

Similarly, it is to enhance inter-modality by establishing interchange hubs that connect metro, bus, ferry, and taxi services in Marina and Mile 2. This project, funded by AFD through a 178 million euros credit facility, will be implemented by LAMATA from 2019 to 2025, benefiting around 1.5 million daily users.

On the other hand, the WIDE-LAG initiative, also funded by the Lagos State-AFD partnership, aims to establish a robust mass public transport system through Lagos’ waterways, catering to 24 million commuters annually. This project promises cost savings, reduced travel time, and a significant decrease in CO² emissions.

With the development of six priority ferry routes covering 129km and the upgrade of 20 ferry terminals and jetties, Lagos is set to lead in innovation by deploying the first electric vessels in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project, executed by LASWA, is projected to span from 2024 to 2029 with a total investment of 300 million euros, including 110 million euros from AFD.

“Water is a defining feature of Lagos”, said Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, general manager, LASWA. “While it is seen as a challenge today, it should rather be envisioned as an asset for the economic and sustainable development of Lagos State. I am pleased to embark on this ambitious investment to make Lagos Africa’s Model Mega City through an attractive, innovative, and efficient mode of transportation”.