General News of Friday, 5 May 2017
The governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso have pledged to work towards strengthening the ties of co-operation that exist between them, after the Presidents of the two countries expressed satisfaction with the current state of the relations between them.
In a joint communiqué issued at the end of the 2-day official visit to Burkina Faso by President Akufo-Addo, it was resolved that the two countries reinforce their co-operation in the areas of railway transport, road transport, agriculture, water, security, trade, works and housing and energy.
To realize an increase in the movement of goods and persons, and the corresponding economic and commercial benefits long the rail corridor of Ghana and Burkina Faso, both sides re-affirmed the crucial need to rapidly establish the railway interconnection project.
To this end, the two countries have agreed to reactivate the Joint Expert Committee to examine the various feasibility studies already undertaken, and define the modalities and conditions of the selection of a technical and financial partner for the project.
On agriculture, and in order to curb the smuggling of agro-chemicals across the borders of both countries, the Heads of State agreed to put measures in place to stop the illegal movement of agro-chemicals from Ghana into Burkina Faso.
They also agreed to formalize Government to Government trade in cereals from Ghana, and vegetables from Burkina Faso.
With the annual opening of the spillways of the Bagre dam destroying lives, farmlands, livestock and property in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo and President Roch Marc Kabore have agreed to extend cooperation in the utilization of the excess water from the dam for irrigation purposes in the two countries.
The decision to reactivate the Joint Technical Committee on Integrated Water Resource Management (JTC-IWRM) to oversee and manage the annual spillage, so as to reduce the perennial flooding downstream, was also taken.
Touching on the issues of security, it was agreed that a framework to exchange and share information in tackling terrorism, violent robberies and organized crime be established. The activities of trans-humans from Burkina Faso into Ghana were identified as a security concern, and in this regard, both countries decided to hold frequent consultations to address this issue.
“To efficiently address the issue of illegal activities at the borders, notably corruption and racketeering, both sides agreed to hold regular meetings in order to put an end to these practices,” the communiqué noted.
It continued, “Both sides agreed to assist companies from their respective countries to export their products under the Protocol of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). They further agreed to collaborate, with the support of ECOWAS, to establish a Joint Border Post to facilitate trade and free movement of their peoples, goods and services. The two leaders also decided to work together in support of the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) under the auspices of the Africa Union (AU).”
The Ghanaian government also agreed to collaborate and learn from the best practices of the Burkinabe Bank for Housing to enable the reactivation of the Bank for Housing and Construction in Ghana.
In the area of energy, Ghana and Burkina Faso “decided to cooperate further to ensure the completion of the Ouagadougou-Bolgatanga Power Interconnection Supply project, to enable the importation of 85 megawatts into Burkina Faso by the close of 2017. Both sides also commended the completion of the Bolgatanga – Bingo Pipeline Project.”
In addition to this, both sides commended the completion of the feasibility studies concerning the extension of the ECOWAS Gas Pipeline Network, the first connection of which would be between Accra and Ouagadougou.
In conclusion, President Akufo-Addo and President Kabore reiterated the attachment of their respective countries to the ideals of ECOWAS, the African Union, and the United Nations. They, therefore, decided to increase consultations between their countries within international bodies to further harmonize their views on regional and international issues.
Prior to the issuing of the communiqué, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore decorated President Akufo-Addo with the highest national award of Burkina Faso, the Grand Croix de l’Ordre National.