Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, the United States (US) Ambassador, said the US will continue to support Ghana to address the security concerns in the era of extremism and increased insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
She said the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), being implemented by Ghana and the US, and in other five African countries, was a critical intervention to, among other things, help the countries to improve security at their borders and within their justice systems.
Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia were the other countries who also signed unto the SGI at the US – Africa Leaders’ Summit held in August 2014.
Speaking at the opening of the Sixth Security Governance Initiative Steering Committee Meeting in Accra on Wednesday, Ms Sullivan said the current era required collaborations among countries and learning from both good and bad experiences to guide the future.
She said in many countries, porous borders allowed for trafficking of persons and drugs, negatively affecting countries and households, while the justice system faced a daunting task of matching punishment to crimes and providing justice for all.
She said the United States, therefore, “shares Ghana’s concerns” about issues of security, which also reinforced the importance of working together to attain the goals of the SGI.
Ms Sullivan said the National Border Fusion Centre, inaugurated earlier Wednesday morning, would help in coordinating activities of the SGI and make decisions and informed actions in a timely manner.
She commended Ghana for making great strides for building resilient institutions, saying that under the SGI, best practices would be built upon to entrench sound security practices.
Mr Joshua Kyeremeh, the National Security Coordinator, said the rise in piracy and cybercrime as well as terrorism made it necessary for Ghana to strengthen its collaborations among the security agencies, the borders and territorial waters.
He said the Government had also prioritised four security areas; cyber security, maritime security, border management, and administration of social justice, all in the attempt to ensure broader national security and economic stability.
Ghana was also in the process of finalising the National Integrated Maritime Strategy, National Cyber Security Policy, and Strategy for Cabinet and Parliamentary endorsements.
Mr Kyeremeh called for sustainable funding for the SGI Secretariat to enable it to implement its strategies as the initial five-year lifespan of the Initiative elapsed.
Mr Michael Arietti, the Head of U.S. Delegation, Security Governance Initiative – Ghana, said the Initiative was aimed at improving the effectiveness of Ghana’s security sector and enable the conditions for national prosperity.
“The central objective was to look beyond train-and-equip programmes and focus on the institutional reforms necessary to make truly sustainable improvements in the security sector,” he said.
Under the SGI, the United State of America had provided more than $35 million to Ghana to strengthen border, maritime, and cyber security, as well as to improve the administration of justice.
It had provided technical assistance, supported study visits to the US and Kenya, and conducted trainings and workshops at the strategic and operational levels, while providing material support.
In an earlier media pre-brief and a question and answer session, addressed by Mr Michael Arietti, Ms Sullivan, and Mr Osei Bonsu Dickson, Ghana National Coordinator of the SGI, Ghana was assured of various collaborative measures to ensure security for all her people.
Mr Dickson said; “The country is currently safe and we are doing everything possible to ensure that we are all safe”.