First Abidjan Border Forum held to strengthen cooperation on border management  


The Strengthening Border Security in Ghana (SBS Ghana) project, funded by European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), has sponsored a ten-member delegation from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo to participate in the first edition of the ‘Abidjan Border Forum’ (ABF) under the theme ‘Borders and Collective Security’ held in Abidjan.

The delegation’s sponsored officials were from the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Revenue Authority – Customs Division, and the Ghana Boundary Commission. The delegation’s other sponsored officials were from the Togolese and Burkinabe Boundary Commissions.

The ABF is an initiative of the Executive Secretariat of the National Border Commission of Côte d’Ivoire (CNFCI), which seeks to address issues related to border governance in Africa. The ABF, pivotal to the ongoing discussions on border management and security within the sub-region, shares a similar objective with one of the key results of the SBS Ghana project – which is centred on regional cooperation.

This result seeks to foster closer collaboration with counterparts in neighbouring countries to enhance the exchange of data and information between border control authorities and reduce irregular migration, smuggling of goods and other cross-border crimes within the framework of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.

As part of efforts to promote regional cooperation and coordination, the SBS Ghana project also hosted a regional conference in Accra during November 2021 and sponsored high-level representatives and technical experts from the governments of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo. As a result, the four countries signed a 12-point communique that proposed policy solutions to strengthen coordination and cooperation at the operational level in cross-border areas, and discussed security and cross-border cooperation issues.

At the closing ceremony, the Ivorian Minister for Communications and Government Spokesperson Amadou Coulibaly recognised efforts of the European Union in enhancing regional cooperation, and thanked the EU for its immense support given to the first edition of the ABF through ICMPD and the SBS Ghana project.

The Abidjan Border Forum closed with a series of recommendations on cross-cutting, border-related policy issues – from diplomacy and negotiation of border disputes, cybersecurity, agricultural and trade policies to gender and cross-border cooperation, among others.

The three-day event was attended by high-level representatives from the Ivorian government, African Union (AU) and ECOWAS, development partners, technical experts, researchers and other key stakeholders from Africa and Europe. The next edition will be held in Abidjan during 2024.

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