President Akufo-Addo on Saturday reiterated the call for a functioning common regional market in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He said a sub-regional market must be considered the fundamental objective for all, as the Region inched towards total integration.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Brou, handed over to him and President Faure Gnassingbe of the Republic of Togo, a Joint Border Post for Noepe-Akanu at Akanu in the Ketu North Municipality of the Volta Region.
He said the structural transformation of West African economies would be enhanced by trade liberalisation and praised the European Union (EU) and the ECOWAS Commission’s resolve to establish similar common borders across the Sub-Region as “one major effort at conditioning West Africa for prosperity”.
“Ghana and Togo stand ready to support and promote all efforts aimed at ensuring the success of the management of this Joint Border Post and to strengthen the bonds of cooperation and friendship between the two countries.”
The President said the success of the project was of high economic interest to the ECOWAS adding; “With hard work, creativity and enterprise, we should create sufficient opportunities to enhance the prosperity of our people”.
Mr Brou said the project, with support from the EU, was to promote regional integration and serve as a vehicle that would facilitate the implementation of ECOWAS protocols on the free movement of persons and goods and help reduce transit time as well as the cost of transport and handling.
He asked the Joint Border Committee to raise awareness of road users and stakeholders on the Border Post and promote the fight against harassment, extortion, and other reprehensible practices.
Mr Brou reassured the Joint Border Committee of the ECOWAS Commission’s assistance and supply of the necessary guidance to help position the post as one of the best entry points.
The ceremony was attended by high ranking government officials of both countries and delegations from the EU and ECOWAS.
Madam Diana Acconcia, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, said the Post was a flagship project in the Union’s regional cooperation with ECOWAS, which aimed at facilitating transportation, and that a harmonic joint operation would be a “fantastic” step towards better integration.
She said the EU would continue to partner ECOWAS and extend support towards regional integration and security.
The Joint Post was funded by the EU Transport Facilitation Programme at an estimated cost of 13.605.430.93 million Euros.
It is a 10-hectare facility that forms part of the corridor linking Abidjan and Lagos, and divided into commercial vehicle, cargo handling, and pedestrian sections.
The facility houses administration blocks, commercial buildings, customs bridge, truck inspection zones, health services buildings, and pedestrian control zones.
It also has a veterinary store and animal park, and heavy goods vehicles’ shelter among other facilities.
A total of seven joint border posts across the Sub-region had been earmarked as key elements of a 63.8 million Euro grant for the Transport Facilitation Programme.