Lagos Partners French Firm Over Vessel Acquisition, Dredging, Ferry Route Development
Fred Omotara, Lagos
The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and the French Development Agency (FDA) on Thursday launched the preparatory studies of the Waterways Investment and Development of the Environment project in Lagos State (WIDE-LAG) which is aimed at setting up a world-class public inland waterways transit system in Lagos State.
The official kick-off of the meeting which took place at the premises of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), held in the presence of Lagos State authorities, the Consule General of France in Lagos, AFD Country Director and a team of transport experts from the AFD.
The objective was to inform stakeholders about the project concept, expected outputs, and timeline, conduct site visits with the different teams of consultants, and launch the project preparatory studies financed by a EUR 1.2 M grant from AFD and the European Union.
Using the lagoon area, the WIDE-LAG project is expected to implement a mass public inland waterways transit (IWT) system in Lagos State. The project scope will include the development of 5 to 8 priority ferry routes providing facilities such as ferry terminals, first mile/last mile land connections, jetties, pontoons, and shipyard for vessel maintenance and dredging of critical areas. It will also include the acquisition of clean-powered vessels and Information Transport Systems (ITS).
Speaking during the meeting, AFD Country Director, Xavier Muron stated that, “Due to demographic growth, land constraints, traffic congestion, sea level rise and land subsidence, AFD reckons that public Inland Waterways Transit is relevant, sustainable and is meant to play an increasing role as a complement to the Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail Transit.
“This ambitious project will make Lagos an international benchmark for Inland Waterways Transit, championing with other cities like Bangkok, San Francisco or Sydney.
“Based on the design studies to be completed in the first half of 2023, AFD will be able to award the funds to Lagos State for this project, which has a total targeted amount of 200 M EUR.
“The project will capitalize on the Future Cities of Nigeria (FCN) program that has provided technical assistance to LASWA and identified private sector interests for IWT. As a public-driven project, WIDE-LAG will contribute to creating the conditions of an enabling environment, strengthening the waterways regulation, and providing critical infrastructures to attract private investors through PPPs.”
Also speaking during the meeting, LASWA General Manager, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel stated that, “Water is a defining features of Lagos.
“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.”
The WIDE-LAG project implemented by LASWA with the support of AFD is an ambitious program that fits into the Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP) (2022-2052) released at the Ehingbeti Summit earlier in October. The LSDP aims to create a flexible, sustainable, and efficient Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) by 2052, increasing the modal share of IWT from 1% to 10% in the total daily trips. The project is also in line with the Lagos State Climate Action Plan (2020-2025) approach, which aims to adapt the mobility patterns to the sea level rise and land subsidence phenomena by moving people and goods by water.
This ambitious program is expected to put Lagos State at the forefront of mobility innovation in Africa, setting the path for other western African countries sharing the same geographical configuration