Once completed, the Trans-Maghreb Highway will serve 55 towns with a total population of over 60 million inhabitants (out of 100 million Maghrebians); 22 international airports, the main ports, rail terminals, the main Universities and research centres, the largest hospitals as well as the main industrial and tourist areas.
The highway will become the nerve centre for the region’s economy, enabling inter-Maghrebian trade in all sectors to be intensified. Europe will also be linked to the Maghreb, while passenger and goods road traffic between the south and north shores of the Mediterranean will also be facilitated through the Strait of Gibraltar.
As one of the priority projects under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), developed by the African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency, African Development Bank and partners, the Trans-Maghreb Highway will also promote regional economic integration by facilitating the free movement of persons, goods and capital between countries in the region.
A NEPAD Agency delegation, led by Adama Deen, Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Infrastructure, undertook a mission to the Arab Maghreb Union to discuss the current state of the Maghreb highway.
The parties examined the means for establishing fruitful cooperation between Maghreb highways agencies, as well as the achievement of the harmonisation of the legal framework relating to the management of highways and the training of human resources.
The issue of how to turn border crossing posts into smart posts to facilitate the transit of people and goods was looked at, as well as ways of making the Maghreb highway a vector of economic integration in the region. The project to create a regional observatory for the Maghreb highway as also deliberated on. To this end, the NEPAD Agency support towards this project will include support towards:
- The financing of a feasibility study on border crossing within the Maghreb countries and the introduction of one-stop border post (OSBPs) and propose a roadmap for the creation of joint border crossing stations (or uniform) features smart lanes.
- Implementation the Convention for the transportation of passengers and goods and transit between Arabic Morocco Union (Arab Maghreb Union) signed in Sirte (Libya) on 22/07/2009.
- Standardisation of customs and trade procedures, including formalities among Maghreb countries according to international legislation governing such regimes.
- Establishing an information highway involving Moorish Maghreb including information on road accidents and the exchange of experiences regarding investigations.
The Trans-Maghreb Highway is very strategic, not only in the creation and facilitation of a trading block for North Africa, but also for linking the Maghreb with the rest of the continent, including Europe via Morocco and Asia via Egypt.