THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through funding from the German Federal Foreign Office has committed to strengthen border management capacities and community resilience in selected countries in the Gulf of Guinea.
The one year project dubbed: “Strengthening Border Security and Border Community in the Gulf of Guinea” is being implemented by the IOM and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and spans from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022. It is expected to be taken place in the Northern border regions of Benin, Ghana, and Togo.
The project would also support the digitisation of information management at land borders, including the process of collecting and analyzing traveler information, through the installation of border management information systems.
The project will reinforce the engagement of border communities in border management strategies through the establishment of mechanisms for improved coordination and dialogue between them and border management agencies.
The project also seek to improve the capacity of border management stakeholders to respond to cross border emergencies, including public health emergencies of international concern.
The Chief of Mission, IOM – Ghana, Benin and Togo, Mrs. Abibatou Wane-Fall speaking at the launch said the efficient management of borders is key to national and regional security and territorial integrity, as borders are usually part of the first line of defense in countering transnational criminal activities.
She said the recent Ebola outbreak and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the essential role they equally play in the national public health response mechanism, notably in terms of disease surveillance, infection prevention and control, and risk communication.
Mrs Wane-Fall said a well-managed borders are key to national and regional stability. However, there have been long standing challenges in managing borders not only in Ghana but in the region in general.
She noted that the existing network of border control posts have well documented challenges with inadequate infrastructure, equipment, and manpower. In addition, there exists the phenomenon of numerous unofficial crossing points due to the historical nature of the delineation of borders in the region.
This, she identified has consequently made it difficult for border management agencies to efficiently carry out their key functions of facilitation and control, while these gaps are increasingly being exploited by smuggling and human trafficking networks.
Mrs Wane-Fall said the phenomenon has led to the introduction and execution of the project, which would support the existing network of official land border posts to efficiently perform their facilitation and control functions through improving their infrastructure and equipment, including renewable energy solutions.
Launching the project, the Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr Kwame Asuah-Takyi, the Government have planned to release a huge amount of money to fix challenges at the borders across the country, beginning from the northern sector due to the current challenges confronting country’s neighbours.
He said the Government of Ghana is doing its best in its responsibility towards securing our borders; however, the enormous support from benevolent donors could not be overemphasised.
Mr Asuah-Takyi urged other Donor Partners to emulate the IOM in implementing projects that contributes to alleviating or mitigating the complex issues confronting Border Security in the country.