Barcelona- During the latest UfM Senior Officials meeting held in Brussels on February 10, the UfM member States adopted the Completion of the Central Section of Maghreb Motorway Axis Project. The project proposal presented by CETMO, the Technical Secretariat of the Group of Transport Ministers of the Western Mediterranean (GTMO 5+5), aims to complete the missing links of the Central Section of the Trans-Maghreb Motorway Axis thus linking the Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian national motorway networks to provide a continuous motorway corridor from Agadir (Morocco) to Ras Jedir (Tunisian Libyan border).
The sections to be completed by the construction of dual carriageway motorway with at least two lanes running parallel to the Maghreb coast are Oujda (Morocco) – Algerian border (22 Km) and Bou Salem (Tunisia) – Algerian border (80 Km). In conjunction with the completion of the infrastructure in progress, the Central Maghreb countries are willing to work together in a coordinated manner within the existing consultation frameworks, such as the GTMO 5+5 and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), for the success of coordinated management of the axis and to give it complete interoperability and a high level of quality service that is comparable all along the axis.
The project will enhance regional trade by facilitating easy and safe access and flow of goods. Closer integration between the transport markets of the Mediterranean can make transport connections faster, cheaper and efficient to the benefit of the citizens and the business opportunities. Moreover, more than 97 per cent of the population of these three countries could benefit from this connection, giving a great visibility for this project.
On the other hand, the project falls within the priority areas of the UfM Secretariat, identified by the Heads of State and Government in the Paris Declaration and those covered by the Secretariat’s Work Program. In this respect, the Paris Declaration Annex states within the priority areas of the UFM, the creation of coastal motorways as those will increase the flow and freedom of the movement of people and goods.
Furthermore, the importance of the trans-Maghreb motorway has been recognized in various international platforms. In 1990 the AMU defined the Motorway for the Maghreb Union as a project of paramount importance for the region. In the MOU signed in 2008 between the AMU and the Group of Transport Ministers of Western Mediterranean (GTMO 5+5), the two organizations undertook to promote the completion of this motorway. In 2009 at the sixth GTMO 5+5 Ministerial Conference a decision was made to intensify efforts to complete the missing links in the motorway.
The project proposal not only has strong co-ownership by the involvement of three governments namely Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, where the project will be implemented, it foresees both public and private sector participation.
Finally, with the realization of this project the motorway interconnection between the three countries of Maghreb namely Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia will be complete and the project’s outcome will have a multiplying effect for the rest of the Mediterranean region and for Europe as a whole, enabling increased mobility among the population and facilitating international freight flows.