“It's a breath of fresh air: since the road has been resurfaced, we can breathe more easily, the whole area is healthier,” says Emmanuel Kosimbo, a bag salesman in Ouagadougou. No more dust in the lungs during dry periods or leaping over puddles to get to his stall during the rainy season. He set up his store in 2008.
“Before, it was just a pile of rubble and mud,” he complains. “I used to sit by the roadside so that people driving by could see my goods, but few of them ever stopped. They were too busy dealing with potholes and the poor road surface, and navigating the traffic jams.” Adama Sawadogo, a second-hand clothing salesman in his thirties, had the same problems. “Back then I had to clean the clothes every hour because of the dust or wrap them in a plastic bag. It was bad for business”, he recalls.
Resurface, improve, extend
Avenue de la Bonté, Avenue Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo, Avenue Dima Koom and also the street that leads to Avenue Naba Yilen were all in an advanced state of decay. In 2013, the Ouagadougou City Council embarked on a priority road extension program in two phases, with AFD support. The objective was to ease congestion in a city that was exploding due to massive urbanization and a growing population. The first phase started in 2015 and concerned the improvement of dilapidated and unusable roads in Districts 3 and 4. Total cost: 12.5 billion CFA francs for asphalting, development and drainage. The work, which lasted three years, concerned three sections totaling approximately 13 km.
The renovated roads were inaugurated in June 2016. Gradually, these once-deserted arteries came back to life. Restaurants, vehicle repair workshops, sewing workshops and hairdressers – “These developments have really had a positive impact on the city's economy, they have given businesses the opportunity to set up on the edges of properly paved roads,” says Elie Sawadogo, a municipal officer. He is responsible for monitoring the work. Adama, the clothing salesman, is ecstatic: “Customers are flocking in because they no longer have to fear the state of the road. My clients include people from this neighborhood, passers-by and residents from other neighborhoods. They’ve now become regular customers.” He has improved his stand. From a makeshift shelter, he has moved up to a brick-built store with a large shop window for displaying his goods.
In 2017 the City Council decided to go further and undertake additional rainwater drainage works in Districts 3 and 4, to combat flooding.
Next step: Amenities on the doorstep
In addition to relieving congestion in the city center, the second phase of the PDDO will “create recreational infrastructure in outlying areas, especially in the eastern zone,” explains Elie Sawadogo. Markets, schools, health centers, sports platforms, green spaces, cultural facilities – the City wants to create the best possible conditions for the inhabitants in their own neighborhoods, offering them a more pleasant living environment. And it goes far beyond leisure: “In terms of education, the aim will be to expand schools as much as possible. On the health side, the ambition is to offer decent services in the centers,” explains the City Hall official. It’s an ambitious project: three districts on the outskirts of the Burkinabe capital are designated to become “secondary city centers”, with improved facilities. This new phase should start in 2019 and end in 2022. Ouagadougou is about to see some major changes.