Ghana joined the republic of Cote d’Ivoire to mark African Border Day, 2022. The event which took place in the Ivorian border town of Noe saw officials from both Ghana and the Ivory Coast engaging in a tree planting exercise, an initiative of the Ghana government to replenish Ghana’s green cover.
Delivering his address, the Hon. Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah bemoaned the fact that the African Border Day celebration was not too popular with African nationals particularly, those who lived in border communities.
He took the opportunity to underscore the oneness of the African people, considering that the borders as we have them now are an artificial creation of colonialism. He charged that persons who live by borders do so peacefully.
“Over the years, borders, which are intended to ensure security have become sources of conflict, however, as African people who share similar cultures and heritage, we must make conscious efforts to transform how we have viewed borders over the years; not as restrictions but us opportunities towards unity, integration and shared development. We are all aware that our respective borders were arbitrarily created as a result of colonialism, but when we look past these artificial borders the similarities especially with regard to our cultures are quite evident. We are one, brothers and sisters and so I am glad that we are reinforcing our oneness through this joint commemoration between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. That said, the borders as we have them now are necessary since they also determine the sovereignty of individual states. Moreover, well-defined borders are very necessary and remain a great concern for many African States given the inherent security implications for sovereign states. We need each other – it is in our interest as Ghanaians to ensure there is peace in neighbouring countries as it endears to stability, economic development and peaceful coexistence. Likewise, we expect our neighbours to ensure the same for us. Additionally, where there are shared resources such as the River Tano, it behoves upon both countries to protect and manage such resources well”, the Minister said.
The minister, who doubles as MP for Takoradi Constituency further used the opportunity to call on the government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to open its land borders to promote trade. According to the regional minister, the continuous closure of land borders is taking a great toll on citizens of both countries, most especially residents in border communities.
On his part, Daouda Ouattara, special advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Patrick Achi, drew the attention of Ghanaian authorities to the damage indiscriminate mining is having on the Tano River. He stated that the activities of illegal mining have rendered the river almost useless. He called for “cooperation from both countries to end the menace and to restore the water to its pre-illegal mining glory”.
Africa Border Day is a day set aside by the African Union, to recognize the significance of international borders and promote regional integration and foster unity in Africa.