The Ghana Boundary Commission (GhBC) has marked the annual commemoration of African Border Day, a day set aside by the African Union (AU) to sensitize Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and relevant stakeholders on border issues, as well as the importance of continental, regional integration and cross-border cooperation.
The day, celebrated annually on 7th June, aims at highlighting the role of the AU Border Program (AUBP) and the AU Convention on Cross-border Cooperation (the Niamey Convention) which facilitates and supports the demarcation and delimiting of African boundaries and the development/promotion of cross-border cooperation among States; while also encouraging additional efforts for their implementation.
As part of efforts to comply with and implement both the AUBP and the Niamey Convention as necessary mechanisms for the transformation of boundary zones and cross-border areas into spaces conducive to regional and continental integration, the Ghana Boundary Commission was reconstituted by the Government of Ghana with the mandate of determining, demarcating and delimiting Ghana’s land and maritime boundaries; as well as settling boundary disputes all in accordance with accepted principles of international laws and good neighbourliness. The Commission’s establishment is particularly important due to growing boundary issues and challenges such as removal or displacement of international boundary pillars and disputes over trans-boundary resources among others.
Recognising the key role of Africa’s rich culture, arts and heritage as catalysts for integration, resilience and socio-economic development of the African continent and also in helping to promulgate the AU Agenda 2063 of “a continent of seamless borders and management of cross-border resources through dialogue”, this year’s Africa Border Day celebration is on the theme “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”. African arts, culture and heritage has proven its resilience, having not only survived through the Covid-19 pandemic, but also contributing to the fight against it. Indeed, they were the instrumental avenues for Covid-19 information dissemination and the perfect companions during the lockdown periods, having adapted to the pandemic and employing the use of modern technology such as digital platforms to create new “borderless” spaces.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the diverse boundary issues that many African countries are grappling with, the theme presents African States with an opportunity to consider the Creative Arts Sector as mechanism to bridge the artificial borders. Especially with borders closed and movement restricted, African societies can begin to explore creative and innovative ways through their shared culture, arts and heritage as channels for educating stakeholders on boundary management issues, border sensitization, integration, resilience and post-Covid recovery.
In commemoration of the 11th African Border Day, the Ghana Boundary Commission calls for a re-examination of the role of the Cultural and Creative Arts industry in boundary management. More so with the signing and coming into force the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is aimed at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s position in the global market, investing in the Creative Arts and employing it as tools for conflict prevention and cross-border cooperation is a creative, forward-looking, and innovative way of bridging and rebuilding African economies across borders in the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic.