Ghana and Togo have pledged to address challenges affecting the smooth operation of the Noepe-Akanu Joint Border Post within six months.
This is to ensure efficient operations at the post ahead of its management by ECOWAS next year.
Per the bilateral agreement, Ghana is to provide water and information and communication technology (ICT), while Togo will provide electricity for the facility.
They have further agreed on a clear demarcation of roles of various focal persons of the two countries.
This was the outcome of an inter-ministerial meeting on the operationalisation of the Noepe-Akanu joint border post between the two countries last Tuesday.
The Ghanaian delegation was led by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, while the Togolese side was led by the Minister of Public Works, Zourehatou Kassau-Traoe.
The event was chaired by the Commissioner of Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation of ECOWAS, Sediko Douka.
Also present were officials of customs and immigration of the two countries.
Other members of the Ghanaian delegation included Rita Ohene Sarfoh (Director, Policy, Planning and Budgetting – Ghana’s Focal Person for the Joint Border Post); Ambassador Hannah Nyarko (Coordinating Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration), and the Director of Ghana Embassy, Lome, Adisa Yakubu.
The rest were Bernice Hudegbeke (Director for Africa Bilateral Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration); Dr Fareed Kwesi Arthur (National Coordinator for AfCFTA Coordination Office); Alhaji Seidu Iddrisu Iddisah (Commissioner, GRA-Customs Division); Joseph Allan (GRA-Customs, Aflao Sector Commander); Peter Ofori Antobre (Head of Transit Unit, GRA-Customs), and Felix Agyeman-Bosompim (Sector Commander, Ghana Immigration Service).
The Noepe-Akanu JBP is a facility owned by ECOWAS.
However, the regional body is yet to take over the full running and management of the facility since it was inaugurated in 2018.
The meeting was, therefore, called to address operational challenges at the facility as a result of the conduct of the focal person assigned by Togo which was impeding work at the border post.
Mr Amoako-Attah said that there was the need to ensure good neighbourliness between the two countries for the smooth operations at the post, saying that no one country had authority over the other.
He, therefore, said the officers must be allowed to do their work since they were professionals who knew what they were about.
The minister further explained that “we were here basically to find solutions to some operational challenges and the meeting was very smooth and successful,” adding that similar meetings would be held to ensure the efficient operation of the JBP.
For his part, Mr Douka said the meeting was fruitful and that soon, procurement processes would begin to hire the services of a firm to manage the JBP.
“Before next year June, we would have a firm to manage the entire border post,” he said.
“The objective is that by next year, the JBP would be fully operational by ECOWAS and the two countries because it is hosted on the main corridor from Abidjan to Lagos and it represents 70 per cent of traffic within the ECOWAS space,” Mr Douka added.
The Noepe-Akanu JBP, which construction was funded by the EU to the tune of about €13,606,000, falls under the Regional Transport Facilitation Programme adopted by the 26th Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Dakar Senegal in 2003.
The objectives of the programme include poverty reduction, improved regional transport services, reduced transport and transaction costs, inter and intra-regional trade promotion, free movement of persons, goods and services, and enhanced West African integration, among other objectives.
Customs officials of both Ghana and Togo undertake a joint inspection of goods at the border post.
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