Key Tiebissou-Bouake Segment of Northern Highway Opens in Cote d’Ivoire

On 24 August 2023, the key highway in Cote d’Ivoire linking Tiebissou and Bouake was officially opened during a ceremony in Djebonua, a locality midway between the two agglomerations. Groundbreaking occured on 15 April 2019 but due to COVID, the project took a little longer than expected.

The project is the result of a partnership between Cote d’Ivoire and China. The Vice-President Tiemoko Kone, Prime Minister Patrick Achi, Minister of Infrastructure Amede Kouakou, Minister of Transport Amadou Kone, Mayor of Bouake Nicolas Djibo as well as Chinese Ambassador Wu Jie were among the personalities in attendance.

Toll Gate on Tiebissou-Bouake Highway

Bouake is the 2nd largest city after the capital Abidjan and has a population of about 550,000. The Tiebissou-Bouake segment is 96-km long and is a dual-carriage motorway with two lanes in each direction. It forms part of the so-called Northern Highway which goes on to connect Cote d’Ivoire with Mali and Burkina Faso.

Former President Felix Houphouet-Boigny proposed the construction of the Northern Highway back in January 1975 with the segment between Abidjan and Yammasoukro earmarked as the initial phase. Several decades later, President Alassane Ouattara is working to move closer to realizing this vision.

The project was estimated at FCFA 186.5 billion (EUR 280 million) with 90% financing from China EXIM Bank and the remaining 10% from the Government of Cote d’Ivoire. The main contractor for the construction works was China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC). The Government hopes to recoup the investment via the collection of toll.

Cote d’Ivoire Northern Highway

Chinese Ambassador Wu highlighted that infrastructure development is at the core of the Belt and Road Initiative (#BRI). China is most willing to support Cote d’Ivoire in the implementation of projects with transformative potential for the socio-economic progress of the country. It is worth noting that during its construction, 2,000 local employees were deployed by CRBC.

The studies for the next 117-km segment from Bouake to Kanawolo are at an advanced stage and works will hopefully kick off soon. The Northern Highway links Abidjan, Yammasoukro, Tiebissou, Bouake, Katiola, Kanawolo, Ferkessedougou and Ouangolodougou. From Ouangolodougou, it is easy to reach Burkina Faso and Mali.