Efficient borders management crucial to national and regional security – Abibatou Wane-Fall

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Inauguration Border Post
Inauguration Border Post

Madam Abibatou Wane-Fall, the Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration-Ghana, says the efficient management of Ghana’s borders is crucial to national and regional security.

She said well-documented historical and traditional challenges were affecting the management of the borders, particularly the land ones.

The existing network of the land border crossing posts were confronted with inadequate infrastructure, equipment as well as many unofficial crossing points.

Madam Wane-Fall raised these concerns during the inauguration of the renovated Border Post at Hamile in the Upper West Region.

The “Strengthening Border Security and Border Community Resilience in the Gulf of Guinea” undertook the project through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The Chief of Mission of the IOM noted that those gaps were challenging the capacity of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to effectively respond to the facilitation and control of travellers and support trade facilitation.
She said those gaps were also increasingly being exploited by smuggling and human trafficking networks and with the emerging and imminent threat of violent extremism from the Sahel and Ghana’s northern neighbour, Burkina Faso, had further exacerbated the status quo and presented potential security and humanitarian implications.

“In a region with a long history of high mobility levels, predating colonial times and a regional development agenda founded on socio-economic integration, underlined by the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol, the importance of land borders cannot be overemphasized”, Madam Wane-Fall pointed out.

She said borders supported by functional infrastructure and equipment played an important role in traveller and trade facilitation, providing rich migration data that could be used to support evidence-based policies.

“Land borders, in our present dispensation, are attaining an increased strategic importance, becoming intersections connecting the security, economic, infrastructural and trade actions of States, including Ghana”, the IOM Chief of Mission stated.

Madam Wane-Fall announced that IOM-Ghana in consultation with the government, including the Ministry of the Interior, GIS and development partners developed a 5-pronged approach to support immigration and border management programming in the country.

“This approach covers support for immigration and border infrastructure and equipment, the provision of border patrol equipment, digitisation of migration data through the provision of Migration Information and Data Analysis System, increased community engagement and strengthening cross-border cooperation.

Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, the Comptroller-General of the Ghana Immigration Service, raised concerns about the long-time border security and regional stability in the Gulf of Guinea.

He said as a result of the recent terrorist threats and other criminal activities across borders, the German Federal Foreign Office was supporting the governments of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire to improve regional border stability in the Gulf of Guinea.

The support had also helped strengthen the border management capacities and community resilience at selected border posts in the northern parts of the targeted countries.

Mr Takyi said the facility was equipped with renewable energy sources, border patrol equipment, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities and the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), among others.

He said for instance, the installation of the Migration Information and Data Analysis System would provide the State with the possibility to collect, process, analyse and share travellers’ information as well as support the digitisation of migration data to improve traveller facilitation and control.

The Kulungugu Border Post had also been renovated and equipped with similar facilities to enhance operations and service delivery.

Mr Takyi said challenges related to border management included the lack of adequate infrastructure and equipment at the existing border posts.

The porosity of the borders; the activities of trafficking and smuggling networks, emergent threat of violent extremism spreading from the Sahel and ongoing global public health emergencies were some of the challenges affecting quality and effective operations and delivery.

He said the Service had been working in partnership with ministries, departments and agencies, the International Organisations, sister security services and community members to achieve its mission to deliver excellence in security and migration management for national development.

He mentioned the provision of a parcel of land by the Hapaa Traditional Council for the proposed “Forward Operating Base”, as a typical example of community support and collaboration.

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