Resolving Ghana/Togo maritime boundary dispute-Parties happy with progress

By Della Russel Ocloo
The government of Ghana has expressed satisfaction with the progress of work made in efforts at resolving the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Togo.
According to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the provisional arrangements made towards a temporary management of the trans-boundary area between the two countries was a major step for the ongoing negotiations. Speaking at the 7th Joint Ghana/Togo Maritime Technical Committee meeting in Accra last Wednesday, Mr Jinapor said Ghana and Togo are parties to the African Union (AU) Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation which enjoins the two countries to peacefully resolve border disputes of this nature.

The three-day meeting, being attended by representatives of the Maritime Boundary Commissions of Ghana and Togo, is discussing details of an agreed road map for the negotiations on the delimitation of the common maritime boundaries between the two countries.

Participants will also reconcile data from the two countries and determine the arrangements for a successful determination of a common delimited maritime boundary.

Ghana and Togo have been holding discussions on the delimitation of the boundaries since 2018 and are hoping to reach a compromise that will lead to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to guide the final Maritime Boundary Agreement at the end of the session today.

The delimitation of a boundary involves the division of maritime areas in a situation where two or more states could have competing claims for the enforcement of their perceived sovereign rights.

Conceptual divisions

Maritime boundaries are conceptual divisions (baselines) which limit a state’s territorial sea from other maritime zones.

Globalisation has seen countries becoming very much concerned with their maritime boundaries for exploring and exploiting both its mineral and food resources, and, in particular, hydrocarbons (oil and gas resources),.

However, maritime boundary disputes continually are becoming barriers to the use of marine resources for coastal countries.

It is for this reason that the Ghana-Togo Joint Committee has been making efforts towards a rapid settlement of thier maritime boundary dispute as a key importance for a peaceful coexistence between the two countries.

Border transformation

Mr Jinapor noted that the resolutions of the issues would help transform the border areas into catalysts for growth, socio-economic development and political integration of the sub-region and to a large extent the continent.

As such, he said the two countries could not be oblivious of the devastating impact the unresolved border issues could have on the people.

The minister suggested that a quick resolution to the challenge would enable coordination and further prevent a spill-over of violent extremism and organised crimes from the Sahelian Region into the two countries and other neighbouring countries such as Benin and Cote d’Ivoire.

Source: Graphic