Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire have agreed to construct a monument at the international boundary line that terminates in the sea at Newtown in the Jomoro District in the Western Region.
The move forms part of the implementation of the maritime boundary dispute ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) between the two countries.
The 2017 ruling by the Special Chamber of ITLOS unanimously determined that the maritime boundary between the two countries should be drawn using the equidistance method, which is a standard method for delimiting maritime boundaries in the absence of special circumstances.
The ruling was a significant victory for Ghana, as it granted the country control over a large area of the Atlantic Ocean that is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves.
Newtown is the main Ghanaian town that shares both land and maritime boundary with Kanrachie Suazo, which lies on the eastern side of Côte d'Ivoire.
As part of the reaffirmation of the land and maritime boundaries between the two countries, a joint sensitisation programme has been organised by the Ghana Boundary Commission and the National Boundary Commission of Côte d’Ivoire at Newtown in the Western Region.
At the event, the National Coordinator of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Major General Emmanuel Kotia, said there were considerations for a lighthouse to be constructed at the pillar 55 which terminates in the sea.
The lighthouse will aid the navigation of ships within the maritime domain of the two countries.
He indicated that the reaffirmation of the land boundary would cover 50 kilometres of the 713 kilometres between the two countries being reaffirmed between now and December while an extra 100 kilometres will be reaffirmed in January 2024.
Similarly, he said the two commissions intended to jointly construct new pillars to replace a number of old and faded pillars constructed during the colonial period.
Some of the pillars had been destroyed by sand storms or tampered with.
“The Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Navy is also conducting a maritime boundary inspection along the maritime boundary line to ensure that there are no encroachments within our territory," General Kotia said.
The engagement with the communities is crucial since they possess a wealth of traditional knowledge which is invaluable in identifying historical documents and displaced pillars to assist with the processes of re-affirmation.
He appealed to the community leaders, youth groups and relevant stakeholders to cooperate with the technical team of the two countries in undertaking the exercise.
General Kotia also commended the German government for its continuous support through the processes under the African Union Border Programme (AUBP).
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko, in his address, said that the exercise did not only uphold the principles of good neighbourliness but also contributed to the maintenance of regional peace and stability.
“As we embark on this journey, let us keep in mind the broader implications of our work considering that accurate boundaries pave the way for cooperative development, shared resources and strengthened ties between nations,” Mr Okyere-Darko said.
The Executive Secretary of the National Boundary Commission of Côte d’Ivoire, Diakalidia Konaté, described the community engagement as critical in attaining the cooperation of the communities for the reaffirmation processes.
That, he said, would significantly reduce incidence of trafficking and other transnational organised crimes between the countries.
A representative of the German Ambassador to Ghana, Pauline Okkens, said that border disputes across the world could lead to unfortunate consequences.
Germany, she said, recognised the importance of well defined borders and the role of good governance in preventing cross-border issues.
“It is within this context that Germany continues to show strong commitment to the activities of the boundary commission, including enhancing the technical capacities and knowledge of officials,” Ms Okkens said.
The Chairman of the Newtown Community, Martin Anahomah, in his remarks, appealed to the commission to endeavour to construct the road from the community leading to Kanrachie Suazo to help in developing economic activities between the two communities.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Jomoro in Ghana, Louisa Iris Arde, and the Municipal Chief Executive of South Comoé and Aboisso in Côte d’Ivoire, Légré Koukougnon, both expressed the hope that the reaffirmation would reinforce the bonds of brotherhood between their two districts.