Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior, has called on all partners in Regional Border Management to join hands to address the challenges facing effective border management in the sub-region.
He said border management in the sub-region was confronted with common traditional and perennial challenges including many porous and unmanned borders characterised by numerous unofficial crossing points, inadequate equipment and infrastructure, and the collection and of migration data.
He said the current COVID-19 Pandemic also brought to the fore the role that borders play in the national public health system, particularly in responding to pandemics of international concern.
Mr Dery made the call in a speech read on his behalf at the Regional Border Management Workshop, organised by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) in Accra, for the Gulf of Guinea countries and their neighbours in the Sahel, with the funding from the German Federal Office.
The workshop, to serve as platform for the targeted countries to share experiences and develop recommendations to improve border management and border security, in the region, also aimed at fostering regional and cross border corporation, including improving information management and data sharing, and strengthening cross border cooperation.
The Interior Minister also mentioned limited access to social amenities such as potable water and health care and high youth unemployment rate, which he said, remained factors that increase the vulnerability of the border communities across the region, adding, “We must not lose sight of the insecurity in the Sahel and its related humanitarian effects on the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea”.
“We, therefore, have to join hands to address the situation that make our sub-region susceptible,” he added.
Mr Dery announced that the government is responding to challenges facing border management within its jurisdiction through strategic policy facet as well as operational measures.
He said the development of frameworks such as the National Frameworks such as the National Framework for the Prevention of Violent Extremism, the draft of national border Management Strategy, the Northern Border Security Strategy, the Security Government Initiative, and the Accra Initiatives were strategic responses to those challenges.
He noted that the government acknowledged the immense support of the IOM over the years to improve border management in the country through interventions such as the Ghana Integrated Border Management Approach (GIMMA) and ongoing Integrated Border Management Programmes specifically the “Screening the Northern Border of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo” project, aimed at improving border security along the northern borders of the countries.
Mr Isaac Owusu Mensah, the Deputy Comptroller- General of the Ghana Immigration Service, said they faced varied peace and security challenges that required an inclusive and coordinated mechanism to prevent threats to the stability of the countries.
He commended the IOM and the German Federal Office to initiate projects that contribute to strengthening the borders and border community resilience.
Mr Nnamdi Iwuora, Senior Project Manager, IOM said the organisation and its partner were discussing the way to address border management challenges in the sub-region and Africa in general and called for further support from donors and partners to sustain its border management projects.