An international forum to strengthen cooperation on border management has been held in Abidjan, Cote d’Voire.
The Strengthening Border Security (SBS) Ghana Project, under the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) working to create efficient cooperation and partnerships along migration routes sponsored a 10-member delegation from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo to participate in the three-day event dubbed ‘The Abidjan Border Forum (ABF)’.
It was attended by high-level representatives of the Ivoirian government, the African Union and ECOWAS, development partners, technical experts, researchers and other key stakeholders from Africa and Europe.
A press release issued and signed by a representative of ICMPD and copied the Ghana News Agency at Dormaa-Ahenkro, Dormaa Central Municipality of Bono Region said the ABF was an initiative of the Executive Secretariat of the National Border Commission of Cote d’Voire which seeks to address issues related to border governance in Africa.
It stated “the ABF, pivotal to the ongoing discussions on border management and security within the West-African sub-region shares a similar objective with one of the key results of the SBS Ghana Project, which is centred on regional cooperation”.
According to the release, the forum, on the theme “Borders and Collective Security” held from October 18th to 20th sought to foster closer collaboration with counterparts in neighbouring countries to enhance the exchange of data and information between border control authorities and reduce irregular migration, smuggling of goods and other cross border crimes within the framework of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.
It indicated as part of efforts to promote regional cooperation and coordination, the SBS Ghana Project also hosted a regional conference in Accra in November 2021 and sponsored high level representatives and technical experts of the governments of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Voire and Togo.
“As a result, the four countries signed a 12-point communique, which proposed policy solutions to strengthen coordination and cooperation at the operational level in cross border areas, discussed security and cross border cooperation issues”, the release added.
It said Mr Amadou Coulibaly, the Ivoirian Minister for Communications and Government’s Spokesperson recognised the efforts of the European Union (EU) in enhancing regional cooperation, adding Mr. Coulibaly thanked the EU for the immense support it gave to the ABF, first edition through ICMPD and the SBS Ghana project.
The release said the forum ended with a series of recommendations on cross-cutting border related policy issues that included diplomacy and negotiation of border disputes, cyber security, agricultural and trade policies, gender and cross-border cooperation.
It said members of the Ghanaian delegation were officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ministry of Interior, Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Boundary Commission.
The members of the Togolese and Burkina Faso delegation were from the Boundary Commissions of the two countries, the release said and concluded the second edition of the forum would be held again in Abidjan in 2024.