The Norwegian Prime Minister, Ms Erna Solberg, has urged Ghana to put in place robust internal security systems that will help crack down on organised crime and prevent internal conflicts.
She has also called for more commitment and cooperation by African governments to build the capacities of their security services to holistically tackle the threats posed by terrorist groups and violent extremists.
She made the call when she visited the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) last Saturday to interact with the management of the centre.
Her visit was to get first-hand briefing on the activities at the centre, given the fact that Norway remains the key funding partner of the KAIPTC.
She was received by the Commandant of the KAIPTC, Air Vice-Marshal Griffiths S. Evans, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Obed Akwa, and other top officials of the centre.
Ms Solberg, who arrived in the country last Friday on a two-day visit, also stressed the need for stronger collaboration among countries to improve security in the sub-region because conflict and organised crime were major threats to the achievement of the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“I am a co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Eminent Group of Advocates for the SDGs with your President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and we have a clear road map for these goals.
“But we will not be able to reach the goals if we still have unceasing conflict in the sub-region and the world as a whole.
We need to have decreasing conflict because those who are left behind are often found in the areas where there are conflicts and no rule of law,” she said.
Through the partnership from the governments of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the KAIPTC has put in place security infrastructure and built the capacity of security personnel in the sub-region and across the world.
The centre recently launched a five-year plan to transform its security architecture based on education and enhanced research in security towards peace-building.
Ms Solberg, who was satisfied with the activities at the center, re-affirmed the commitment of the Norwegian government to collaborate with the KAIPTC to do more research and build the capacity of the security agencies, civil society organizations (CSOs) and other groups in the country and the sub-region.
She planted a tree on the premises of the KAIPTC to symbolize that the relationship and cooperation between Norway and Ghana needed to be sustained for the benefit of their peoples.
Kofi Annan eulogised
Ms Solberg said Norway was particularly keen on helping the KAIPTC to be relevant and protect the legacies of the late former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, whom she described as a stalwart of global peace.
She said Mr Annan was a “symbol of dignity, hard work and world peace” whose good works were already being missed by the global community.
“We have all been inspired by the personality of Kofi Annan because his words, his works were what the world needed most to build peace across borders and I will call on this centre to make sure that those legacies are continued to benefit humanity,” she said.
Touching on how to deal with organised crime such as money laundering, cyber crime and other emerging illicit activities in the sub-region, the Norwegian Prime Minister said it was important to take bold steps to distort the chain of persons who were profiteering from conflicts, religious extremism, cyber crime, illegal trade in arms and other organised crimes in the sub-region.
She asked Ghana and other countries in the sub-region to implement transparent banking and tax regimes that would help stop the money flow among illicit businesses.
She also said there was the need for effective policing in the sub-region to clamp down on smuggling of arms and illicit drugs, as well as the movement of suspicious people.
For his part, Air Vice-Marshall Griffiths said the focus was to build the center into a top-class facility that was capable of delivering a complex mix of security services.
He described the center’s partnership with Norway as great, saying: “The love is great, the partnership will continue and the support will be encouraged.”
Major General Akwa said the visit by Ms Solberg was historic and would remain an indelible landmark in the history of Ghana and the KAIPTC.
He commended the Norwegian government for the support given to peacekeeping missions in Mali and other parts of the sub-region, stressing that peace-building was key to development.