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Ensure peaceful boundaries across West Africa – Akufo-Addo charges ECOWAS heads

President Akufo-Addo said the initiative taken by ECOWAS to bring the boundary heads together is a welcome development

President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged national and regional actors in charge of boundary commissions in West Africa to do everything within their mandates to ensure peaceful boundaries and borders amongst all states within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Ghana Boundary Commission (GhBC), under the leadership of Major General Emmanuel Kotia, is spearheading a meeting of the heads of boundary commissions in West Africa in Accra from Tuesday, 9 July to Thursday, 11 July 2024, aimed at drawing up mechanisms between national and regional actors for a better articulation of the implementation of border governance strategies in the West African region.

Addressing a delegation led by the National Coordinator of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Major General Emmanuel Kotia and comprising heads of boundary commissions in several other ECOWAS states at the Jubilee House when they paid a courtesy call on him on Wednesday, 10 July 2024, President Akufo-Addo said the initiative taken by ECOWAS to bring the boundary heads together is a welcome development.

Referring to Ghana’s recent maritime boundary dispute with Côte d’Ivoire which was settled at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)., the ongoing dispute over the river Nile between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, among others, President Akufo-Addo said there is the need for an institutionalised mechanism that will help prevent boundary disputes at the regional and continental levels.

“I want to encourage you to give this effort, which is being done to establish a coordinated mechanism and find a way of working together to concretise decisions about our boundaries, I want to encourage you to give it your greatest attention, energies, and support, President Akufo-Addo remarked.

“We know that our continent is blessed with many natural resources, both offshore and onshore, and the only way we can prevent serious conflicts over the control of these resources is if you (boundary commissions in West Africa) do your work properly and acceptably, President Akufo-Addo further remarked.

Joint meeting goals

Major General Emmanuel Kotia, after introducing the delegation to President Akufo-Addo, noted that the meeting, which has been organised under the auspices of ECOWAS has clear goals and expected outcomes at the end of the three-day meeting.

First, “We envisage having synergies to facilitate the collaboration and coordination among boundary commissions in West Africa. Secondly, “improve coordination mechanisms between the actors to avoid duplication and facilitate the documentation and sharing of information, intelligence, and good practices” and lastly, “to establish practical modalities for the utilisation of the meeting of heads of West Africa boundary commissions going forward,” General Emmanuel Kotia said.

The delegation led by Major General Emmanuel Kotia included Surveyor Adamu A. Adaji, Director General, National Boundary Commission of Nigeria, Vice Admiral Oumar Wade, President, Senegal Boundary Commission, Dr Baglo Ayite Marcel, Director General, National Border Agency of Benin, Mr Pate Balla, Permanent Secretary, National Boundary Commission of Niger, Mrs Dabal Salimata, Permanent Secretary, National Boundary Commission of Burkina Faso, Mr Akago Kodjo Djijonu Vondoly, and Permanent Secretary, National Boundary Commission of Togo.

The other were Mr Moriba Magassouba, Head, Administrative and Boundary Regulations, Guinea, Mrs Saffie Sankareh Farage, Permanent Secretary, Gambia Boundary Commission, Mr Lismond Theophilus C. Jones, Office of National Security, Sierra Leone, Mr Abdramane Coulibaly, Technical Coordinator, National Boundary Commission of Côte d’Ivoire, Honourable Edward Mulbah, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Liberia, Mrs Balbina De Pina Da Silva, Executive Secretary, and Boundary Commission of Guinea Bissau.

The rest were Mr Seydou Ouane, Director General, National Boundary Commission of Mali, Ambassador Mouktar Ousman Karie, Mr Albert Siaw-Boateng, Director of Free Movement of Persons and Migration, ECOWAS Commission, Dr Sanou Bakary, Regional Coordinator for West Africa, GIZ/AUBP, Dr Mohamadou Abdoul, Technical Adviser, GIZ/AUBP, Ms Haifa Aboubaker, Acting Focal Point, AUBP, and Mr Grant Bowers, Geographic Information System Officer, AUBP.

The GhBC

The Ghana Boundary Commission (GhBC) is a Government of Ghana entity responsible for determining, demarcating, and delimiting Ghana’s international land and maritime boundaries by accepted principles of international law.

The Commission is also responsible for the amicable settlement of boundary disputes between Ghana and neighboring countries. The Commission’s mandate has a wider implication for safeguarding the territorial sovereignty of the state at all times in collaboration with various actors within and outside Ghana.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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