The Ghana Boundary Commission (GhBC) has commemorated the African Union (AU) African Border Day, as part of measures to implement the AU Border Programme, with a statement read in Ghana’s Parliament by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, expressing the need to celebrate the existence and significance of borders in promoting peace, regional and continental integration in Africa.
The commemoration at Ghana’s Parliament House, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, saw the National Coordinator of the GhBC – Major General (Maj Gen) Emmanuel Kotia and staff of GhBC present at Parliament, with the Deputy Minister – Benito Owusu-Bio and the Chairperson for the Select Committee on Lands and Forestry – Francis Manu Adabor, supporting the Minister, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Damongo Constituency – Samuel Abu Jinapor.
Mr Jinapor, who is the Chairman of GhBC’s Governing Body, emphasized that the porous nature of African borders has been identified as the primary reason for the ease with which governance-related national conflicts in individual states have trickled down entire regions, as has been the case in the Great Lakes region, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa.
The Minister highlighted some of the Commission’s activities along Ghana’s international boundaries, since inception in June 2020, which include the re-integration of negotiations with Togo on a long-standing maritime dispute between the two neighbours; the on-going re-affirmation of land boundary pillars along the Eastern International Boundary Line with Togo, including the construction of the Land Boundary Terminus.
Mr Jinapor cited Maj Gen Kotia for hard work and dedication, in implementing the Commission’s mandate and undertaking activities aimed at securing and maintaining the country’s international boundaries, as spelt out under ACT 795.
Under ACT 795, GhBC is to determine and demarcate Ghana’s land boundaries and delimit her maritime boundaries, in accordance with accepted principles of international law; protect and secure the interests of Ghana.
GhBC is additionally to adopt international best practices in the demarcation and delimitation of boundaries; promote a more effective management of the boundary demarcation and delimitation process; and ensure consideration of the full range of Ghanaian interests affected by the placement of boundaries.
The MP for Korle Klottey Constituency, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, contributing to the Minister’s statement, advocated for Ghana to intensify the teaching of the French language, to facilitate communication between Ghanaians and their Francophone neighbours, submitting that not only are countries divided by physical structures, but also by language.
The commemoration further aimed at underscoring the significance of the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation, popularly referred to as “The Niamey Convention” – to which Ghana became a signatory in 2017 – which is a critical framework for integrated border governance and cross-border cooperation.
The African Border Day which falls on June 7, also aims at creating awareness on the elimination of all sources of conflicts along international boundaries of Member States and to make border communities peaceful, safe, and harmonious for socio-economic integration and cultural development.
In the spirit of advancing cross-border cooperation, the GhBC, together with the National Boundary Commission of la Côte d’Ivoire (CNFCI) have agreed to jointly commemorate the 2022 African Border Day under the theme ‘Challenges of Cross-Border Cooperation and Management of Shared Resources”.