7th February, 2011
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has signed contracts with the European Union (EU) for the construction of two joint border posts within the sub-region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the contractual agreement is part of efforts to reduce transportation hitches across the ECOWAS borders.
The contracts were signed in Abuja for the construction of the Seme-Krake post (between Nigeria and Benin Republic) and Noepe post (between Ghana and Togo).
Signing on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission, the President, Mr James Gbeho, said the joint border posts were an important tool for facilitating formalities at the affected borders within the context of regional protocol.
â€œThe provision of joint border posts and modern enabling facilities is an indicator that ours is a flagship project and a good example of regional integration and the exchange of regional public goods with a spill-over range of benefits.
â€œThe projects will reduce the time spent at border crossings by users, reduce transport costs and transaction costs. Environmentally, it will give aesthetic and visual appeal.
â€œIt will enhance the enlightenment and awareness of border users on the fight against harassment, extortion and corrupt practices along corridors;
â€œIt will also bring together border administrators from neighbouring countries as well as give a sense of greater security to all,â€ he said.
The ECOWAS president said the signing ceremony was a demonstration of the much valued international cooperation and support.
He decried the obstacles impeding the free movement of goods and persons across the sub-region as well as the administrative bottlenecks and the lack of a reliable system for the exchange of information.
These factors, he said, had contributed to make the transport system in West Africa the most expensive in the world.