The Ghana Boundary Commission established in 2010 has as part of its mandate leading of negotiations with neighboring countries; collaborating with relevant Security Agencies to secure Ghana’s boundaries and safeguard Ghana’s territorial sovereignty at times; determining cross-boundary matters among communities through negotiation; and promoting trans-border cooperation and local community development.

In line with the above, the Commission has embarked on an exercise to reaffirm the Ghana-Togo International Border Line. The exercise, the Commision is carrying out with its Togolese counterpart, the National Land Boundary Commission of Togo.  In May 2022, both institutions launched the First Phase of the Reaffirmation of Ghana/Togo Border line at Aflao in the Ketu South Municipality.

The two institutions launched the Second Phase of the exercise at the Ghana Revenue Authority Customs Training School, Agotime-Kpetoe in the Agotime-Ziope District on Thursday, May 4th 2023.  The exercise come along with a Joint Community Sensitization Exercise for Traditional Rulers, and Opinion Leaders living along the Border line. The objective of the Joint Community Sensitization Exercise was to sensitise communities living along the Ghana-Togo International Boundary line on the reaffirmation exercise the two institutions were undertaking and solicit support as well as co-operation from the communities.

The launch  had the participation of the Hon. Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Hon. Volta Regional Minister, Hon. Member of Parliament for Agotime-Ziope Constituency, National Coordinator and Officials of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Secretary to the Lands Commission of Togo, and Representatives of Security Agencies of Ghana,  the rest were Hon. Municipal and District Chief Executives from Akatsi North, Afazdato South, Ho, Ho West, and Hohoe; Traditional Rulers from Agotime Traditional Area, Opinion Leaders from Togo and Residents living along the International Border line.

The Hon. District Chief Executive for Agotime-Ziope District, Ms. Emelia Emefa Adzimah, in a Welcome Address expressed her joy about the ceremony. She as well expressed gratitude to the Hon. Deputy Minister for MLNR, Hon. Volta Regional Minister and the Ghana Boundary Commission for selecting Agotime-Kpetoe to host the Sensitization Exercise.

She stated that Agortime-Ziope is on the boundary line with counterparts from Togo and that the Agotime Traditional Area extends to part of the Republic of Togo. She intimated that it was therefore not surprising that the cultural and social bonds that exist between this two friendly countries remain very irrepressible. She noted that the both countries, Ghana and Togo, share similar identities and that it is a unifying factor among communities within both countries.

She averred that holding the sensitization exercise in Kpetoe was not just fulfilling but also strengthened the peaceful coexistence among the people living along the boundary line.

The Hon. Deputy Minister for MLNR, Mr. Benito Owusu Bio, in his Opening Remarks, welcomed the Officials from Togo and Ghana, and other guests to the ceremony on behalf of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Hon. Minister for MLNR, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor. He stated that the Joint Sensitization was not new but rather formed part of a series of exercises being undertaken by Ghana and Togo. He indicated that the ceremony is the second phase of the reaffirmation exercise which will lead to the construction of the boundary pillars or markings defining the land boundaries between the two countries.

He pointed out that most boundary markers that defined the land boundaries between Ghana and Togo had been displaced due to several factors such as erosion, tampering or outright removals. He indicated that the effect of the above was the eruption of conflicts in many communities along the initial boundary line. He posited however that the communities that live along the border line of the two countries share similar cultural, social beliefs, family ties and other defining similarities which foster good neighbourliness between the two countries. He acknowledged that similarities shared between the two countries should define their respective people and not an invisible boundary which was created several decade ago.

Mr. Owusu Bio further acknowledged that the International boundary line, rather than being barriers should serve as a bridge for promoting economic and social growth in communities of both countries. He stressed that “Ghana and Togo have always maintained good standing relation through mutual respect, shared social and cultural belief, hence the need to safeguard the peace and stability of both countries.” He therefore urged all communities along the Border Line to be united in order to prioritize peace and foster good neighbourliness irrespective of which side of the boundary they find themselves.

He entreated the Traditional Rulers, Opinion Leaders, and communities, residents living along the International Boundary Line and stakeholders to maintain common values which both countries share. He also entreated them to extend to members of the Joint Land Boundary Reaffirmation Technical Committee their maximum support and cooperation.

Hon. Owusu Bio commended the National Coordinator for the Ghana Boundary Commission, Major-General Emmanuel Kotia and the Land Boundary Commission of Togo for their dedication towards ensuring the peace, unity and security of all communities along the Border Line.

He seized the opportunity to express profound appreciation to GIZ/African Union Boarder Programme (AUBP) for the financial support and technical advice provided to both Ghana and Togo to ensure the re-affirmation of the Border Line.

On his part, the Hon. Volta Reginal Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, in his remarks, expressed joy about the commitment from the Ghana Boundary Commission and its Togolese counterpart towards ensuring the success of the Joint Re-affirmation and Sensitization Exercise which sought to educate communities living along the International Border Line on the activities being undertaken to reaffirm the Border Line.

He reminded the gathering that the management of the common boundary of both countries was a shared responsibility. He therefore entreated them to ensure that boundary markers are in good shape.

He emphasized the need for communities along the Border Line to ensure the sanctity of the Line; protecting any demarcation and installations by the authorities from both countries.

Dr. Letsa entreated the Chiefs, Opinion Leaders and the communities to cooperate and extend their maximum support to the Committee that will be carrying out the Re-affirmation Exercise.

Furthermore, While Dr. Letsa expressed the preparedness of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council to support the Committee in its work, he assured the Committee of Government’s continued support as well.

Nevertheless, urged the communities to draw the attention of Hon. Municipal and District Chief Executives, and the Regional Security Council to any disturbing issue they might identify along the Border Line.

Maj. General Kotia, following the remarks of the Hon. Volta Regional Minister, intimated that the Re-affirmation Exercise was consistent with the mandate of the Ghana Boundary Commission and the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation. He noted that the Exercise was being funded by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), through the African Union Border Programme (AUBP).

In addition, he intimated that the Re-affirmation Exercise was aimed at replacing all destroyed or tampered boundary poles of the Ghana and Togo Land Boundary. He clarified that the Exercise was not to demarcate any new boundaries. Rather, it was to reaffirm the existing boundary line to enable both institutions replace existing markers or pillars that have been damaged or tampered with.

The Re-affirmation Exercise would cover a distance of about 80 km from the main border at Ave Dakpa to Wli Afegame in the Volta Region of Ghana, he noted.

He stated that due to the removal of some pillars, most of the residents of communities along the Border Line sometimes have difficulties in identifying where the Border Line is and that had made them stray without they knowing the territory of each country or state.

Maj.-General Kotia revealed that discussions were ongoing with the Togolese counterpart to introduce additional pillars. He stated there would be the erection of new intermediary and border post boundary pillars across Ave-Xevi, Batume Junction, Wudome, Nyive, Shia, Honuta, Leklebi Dafor and Wli Afegame, all in the Volta Region which share borders with sister communities in Togo.  He explained that the boundary pillars “are physical concrete pillars constructed on the ground along the International Boundary Line to define the sovereign limits of neighboring states.”

On the duration of the Exercise, he stated the Exercise would be undertaken within three weeks. He therefore solicited co-operation of the Chiefs, Opinion Leaders and the communities for the Technical Committee.

Finally, he stated that reaffirming the boundaries would provide the opportunity for States to jointly confirm International Boundaries to avoid any future disputes.

The Secretary of the Land Boundary Commission of Togo, Dr. Lardja Douti on his part stated that the Re-affirmation Exercise would be beneficial to both countries.

A Representative of the Paramount Chief of Agotime Traditional Area, Nene Akoto Sah VII, also stated as a result of the destruction of some boundary pillars, communities living along the Boundary Line endure difficult moments whenever national elections are due.  He therefore expressed the confidence that the re-affirmation process would bring a lasting solutions to such challenges.