President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Ghana and Togo stand ready to support and promote all efforts aimed at ensuring the success of the management of Noepe-Akanu joint border post, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship and co-operation between Ghana and Togo.
Speaking at the official handing-over ceremony of the Noepe-Akanu Joint Border Post on Friday, President Akufo-Addo indicated that, “we believe it is in our economic interest for this project to succeed, for, with hard work, creativity and enterprise, it should create sufficient opportunities to enhance the prosperity of our people.”
Expressing the gratitude of the Ghanaian and Togolese people to the ECOWAS Commission and the European Union for their assistance in the construction of this joint border post, the President noted that this project is a welcome development.
He explained that the Joint Border Post would strengthen the movement of peoples, goods and services, increase intra-regional trade, reduce trade and logistics costs, improve cross-border security, and serve as an avenue for information sharing.
Additionally, with this border post fitted with weighbridges, baggage and pedestrian scanners, and state-of-the-art ICT equipment, joint inspections, sharing of intelligence and joint risk management initiatives should reduce substantially processing times along the border.
“Whilst reaping the benefits of this post, Ghana and Togo should also be mindful of, and be poised to address, any challenges that may arise, notably the maintenance of law and order, dealing with cross-border crimes, smuggling, and other related issues,” the President said.
The inauguration ceremony is as a result of the signing, on 26th July, 2017, of the Bilateral Agreement and Operating Procedures Manual between Ghana and Togo, which govern the joint operations and management of the border post.
The Agreement has made extensive provisions on institutional mechanisms and management arrangements, such as the formation of a Joint Committee, the establishment of a Management Authority to determine the administrative measures necessary for managing the joint border post, provision and control of security services, and maintaining the facilities.
President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged Ghanaian and Togolese officials to collaborate and address all difficulties within the confines of the Bilateral Agreement, so as to ensure that the joint border post provides a higher level of service than the current arrangements at Aflao and Kodjoviakope.
“Indeed, the time has come for West African integration. A functioning, common regional market in ECOWAS has to be a very fundamental objective for all the peoples and governments in the region, an objective that must consolidate the process of structural transformation of our national economies on which we must all be engaged,” the President added.
With the ECOWAS Commission having put in place plans to execute similar common border projects elsewhere in West Africa, President Akufo-Addo urged for the speedy implementation of these projects.
“ECOWAS must help establish the conditions for West African prosperity in the decades ahead,” the President added.