US, Ghana Meet To Discuss Security

THE UNITED States (US) and Ghana have jointly hosted the fifth Security Governance Initiative (SGI) Steering Committee meeting.

The meeting comes in the wake of numerous kidnappings and alleged arson cases across Ghana.

Held in Accra on Thursday, May 9, 2019, the meeting brought together heads of major security agencies in Ghana including the Immigration Service, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Police and National Security.

SGI is a partnership between the Government of Ghana and the United States of America aimed at improving the effectiveness of Ghana’s security sector.

It is also to enable the conditions for national prosperity.

In February 2016, the United States and the Government of Ghana (GoG) signed the SGI Joint Country Action Plan (JCAP), which outlines security governance reform objectives in three Focus Areas.

They are Maritime Security, Border Management and Integration, Cybercrime and Cybersecurity—and a cross-cutting theme of the Administration of Justice.

The semi-annual Steering Committee Meetings function as a forum for senior officials to review progress on achieving JCAP objectives, discuss next steps, and affirm support for pursuing SGI reforms.

Ghana and the US signed the Joint Country Action Plan over three years ago.

US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, in an address at the meeting, said in the Action Plan document, goals were set to enhance the capacity of Ghana’s institutions to safeguard the nation’s maritime domain, borders and cyberspace.

The goal was also to strengthen the
justice institutions which the US ambassador said is so vital to a secured and vibrant democracy.

The goal of the reforms, she added, has always been to promote security and to enable the conditions for building national prosperity.

Ghana, she indicated, stood to gain enormously from the reforms.

For instance, she noted that in the maritime area, effective measures against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, piracy, oil bunkering, and pollution would make possible a sustainable fishing industry, a thriving and secure oil and gas sector and increased port revenues and coastal tourism.

On border security, the Ambassador explained that effective border management would increase trade and customs revenue by ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods and people, while countering the illegal actors and activities that undermine prosperity.

The last JCAP meeting was held in September 2018.

At that meeting, Ambassador Sullivan added that both countries outlined a plan to transition from the design phase of the JCAP to the implementation phase.

The Ambassador explained that “SGI’s support for increased collaboration in Ghana’s strategic planning is one of its major accomplishments to date.”

Going forward, she urged that collaboration on the implementation of the strategies would be critical for success.

Retired US Ambassador and Head of the US Government’s SGI Ghana Head of Delegation, Michael Arietti, says the SGI in spite of having security highlighted in its title, was equally important in supporting the Government of Ghana in its commitment to moving toward greater self-sufficiency and prosperity.

The National Security Coordinator of Ghana, Joshua Kyeremeh, stated that Ghana’s Parliament was getting increasingly involved in the affairs of SGI.

The SGI team has embarked on border visits to sensitize key stakeholders on border security.

SGI was assisting the National Cyber Security Secretariat and the Technical Working Group to review the national cyber security policy of Ghana.

The last SGI meeting was held on September 18, 2018. The United States also has SGI partnerships with Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

BY Melvin Tarlue