Invest in border Communities – Dr. Zanetor Rawlings calls on African leaders


Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, the Member of Parliament for Klottey-Korle and Deputy Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Defence and Interior has called on African leaders to invest in border Communities to avert trafficking of illegal arms and tourist attacks.

According to her, it is important for all stakeholders including Development Partners to commit more resources towards securing our international boundaries as well as the development of boundary Communities.

“Developing these areas will go a long way “to ensure that our international boundaries are safe from terrorist cells, armed gangs as well as becoming entry routes for trafficking of illegal arms, humans and other commodities. I also wish to urge the Government of Ghana to as a matter of urgency ratify the Niamey Convention to advance regional integration, improve on peace and security in the region, develop borderlands and border communities, and improve cross border cooperation with our neighbouring countries”.

In a statement she made on the floor in Parliament to mark the African Union Border Day under the theme ‘Challenges of cross-border cooperation and management of shared resources.’, Dr. Zanetor said leaders must take note of the language barrier as an invisible border that must be considered as part of managing cross-border issues on the Continent.

Dr.Zanator Rawlings stressed the point that, the porous borders make it absurd for any African country for that matter Ghana to say that “we are exempted from the security threats in our sub-region. Ghana is also bound to the south by the Atlantic Ocean which also introduces a maritime dimension to our boundary issues and International Law of the Sea (ITLOS)”.
Furthermore, the free movement of people within ECOWAS coupled with the widening gap between the rich and the poor increases crime and, yet again, poses a threat to our national security, she added.

The African Union Border Day is celebrated annually on the 7th of June. It is a day that was instituted by the African Union as part of the African Union Border Programme. This day is set aside to celebrate the existence and significance of borders in promoting peace as well as regional and continental integration in Africa. The objective is to create awareness on the elimination of all sources of conflicts along international boundaries of Member States and to make border communities peaceful, safe and harmonious for socio-economic integration and cultural development.

“Also significant is the fact that the Day aims at establishing the importance of the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation, popularly referred to as “The Niamey Convention”. This Convention is a critical framework for integrated border governance and cross-border cooperation.

Mr. Speaker, despite having such frameworks in place, there are a lot of factors that could be a threat to Ghana’s security including the southward drift of violent extremism and terrorism in the sub-region”.

In a related development, The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, and Member of Parliament for Damongo Samuel A. Jinapor acknowledged the fact that, the political, social and strategic significance of African borders cannot be overemphasised and “Well-defined borders are not only fundamental elements for defining statehood, but their consolidation is one of three major factors essential for building stable states and societies. They are key instruments for the promotion of peace, security and regional integration, as well as socio-economic development”.

According to him, the importance of border issues on our Continent is further evidenced in the number of Declarations, Resolutions and Agreements adopted on borders. Key among them are:

1. Resolution 16(1) on Border Disputes Among African States, adopted by the First Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 1964;

2. Resolution 1069 on Peace and Security in Africa through Negotiated Settlement of Border Conflicts, adopted by the Forty-fourth Ordinary Session of Council of Ministers in 1986; and

3. Memorandum of Understanding on the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa, adopted by the Thirty-Eight Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, in 2002.