In 2014, the United States and six countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, and Tunisia, agreed to partnerships to improve the security sector of their respective Countries.
To this end, the Security Government Initiative (SGI) was launched. In 2016, Ghana and the United States signed a Joint Country Action Plan (JCAP), which indentified three priority areas of the partnership which are: maritime Security, Boarder Security, and Cyber Security. A fourth cross-cutting focus area, Administration of Justice, was later added to provide holistic coverage on the range of issues that impact these sector.
The SGI approach is based on the recognition that sustainable solutions to security-sector challenges require the vision and commitment of multiple stakeholders. The approach focuses on the partner countries’ priorities where U.S. assistance can have the most impact, and where it can complement and leverage other efforts in the country.
In Ghana, threats impacting border security were from cross-border crimes, smuggling, transnational criminal organizations, human trafficking, and the lack of collaboration, coordination, and lapses in the integrity and transparency of operations.
Through SGI, the Government of Ghana established a national Border Security Technical Working Group (NBSTWG) to work with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Advisor and experts to address and resolve these challenges. The team has undertaken many constructive steps towards the following stated goals:
1. Develop and adopt an integrated approach to border management, through a unified, collaborative, and sustainable concept;
2. Enhance command presence at the border through better operations, coordination, and communication;
3. Increase operational capacity of border agencies actors through improved professionalization, integrity, and interagency cooperation; and
4. Increase capacity to manage border enforcement cases.
The Border Focus Area of SGI is focuses on achieving these strategic objectives and has convened Ghana border security strategic partners to share its border enhancements concept and experiences, and also to identify opportunities for collaboration. Ghana recognizes the Economic Community of West Africa States’ protocols that affect borders, as well as the mutual benefits through the shared border communities. Ghana also strongly endorses and advances policies that reinforce the principles of the Africa Union relating to greater integration, improves cross-border trade, and safe and secure legitimate movement of people across the borders.
It also supports the regional and global efforts to combat and deny transnational criminal organizations from exploiting the borders and cause harm to citizens of all nations.
The Regional seminar which takes place from 27th to 31st August, 2018 involves security chiefs from Ghana, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Kenya. The regional character of the seminar demonstrates Ghana understanding that border security is inherently a regional issue that requires multi-lateral cooperation, robust intelligence, information sharing, efficiency, and appropriate information technology tools in order to achieve and maintain success.
The National Security Coordinator of Ghana, Joshua Kyeremeh is scheduled to deliver the keynote address, Africa, more than any other region of the world, is most positioned to exemplify best practices in border security and management that are rooted on our common development desires and respect of the unique conditions at its borders.
Osei Bonsu Dickson, Esq
Chief Legal Advisor, and Ghana SGI Coordinator