The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Government of Denmark has launched a €1.3 million project to support Government of Ghana to strengthen its institutional and operational capacities to manage irregular migration flows.
The project dubbed, “Strengthening Border and Migration Management in Ghana”, will also assist the GIS in the implementation of its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.
It is being funded by the Government of Denmark, through the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
The ICMPD, GIS and the Embassy of Denmark have also signed the project implementation agreement that sets out the responsibilities of each party to ensure the success of the project.
Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior, in a speech read on his behalf, said migration management was one of the priority agenda for the government, since if managed well could contribute to the socio economic growth of the country.
He expressed his gratitude to the Government of Denmark for the support and pledged Government of Ghana’s commitment to ensure that the project is implemented successfully.
The Minister noted that to actively achieve the Strategic Plan, “all GIS staff must work together to achieve its success”.
Mr Dery said the Document Fraud Centre of the Service have over the years built Ghana’s capacity to identify fraudulent documents, adding, that there was the need to equip the Centre with modern equipment to enable it function efficiently.
He, therefore, urged the GIS to ensure that they maintain the equipment to prolong its life span.
Ms Tove Degnbol, the Ambassador of Denmark, said her country’s support to the GIS was focused on irregular migration.
She said the support was based on the GIS’ Strategic Plan from 2018 t0 2022 and after carefully assessing where the Danish funding could add value, it was decided to focus on strengthening GIS’ capacity to effectively control irregular migration flows through improved document fraud control.
She said the use of fraudulent identity is often a necessity for those that engage in trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, terrorism, smuggling of drugs, weapons and other contraband goods, and other forms of cross border crimes.
“Our support should be seen in the light of the events in 2015, when more than one million refugees and irregular migrants arrived in Europe. We saw a dramatic increase of the tragedies on the Mediterranean Sea….,” she said.
That, the Ambassador said, was a wake-up call to European leaders to find common solutions to save lives and curb the pressure on its shores and some of these measures include a strengthening of the control of the EU external borders through the EU Border Guard and Coast \guard Agency, Frontex.
She said: “In Ghana, we see one of the results of this in the form of the posting of a European Union Return Liaison Officer to coordinate and assist in this domain”.
Ms Degnbol noted that strengthening GIS through training, sharing of good practices with relevant European migration institutions, and provision of document fraud equipment would improve the management of irregular migration flows.
“Based on Denmark’s extensive development cooperation in Ghana, it is our experience that effective capacity development requires deep commitment and local ownership that is anchored with the Ghanaian cooperation partner,” she said, adding that, “We are confident that GIS will demonstrate such deep commitment to ensure successful implementation and sustainable results.
Mr Kwame Ansuah Takyi, the Comptroller-General of Immigration, was grateful to the Government of Denmark and the ICMPD for the project, which he said would strengthen the capacity of GIS staff to detect forged and falsified travel documents, as well as provide training in profiling, imposter detection and risk analyses.
He said the project would help to strengthen cooperation and information exchange between the respective units of GIS involved in the control of irregular migration, while strengthening intra-agency and regional cooperation.
Mr Martjin Pluim, ICMPD Director, said over the time, migration had become one of the most important political issues in public debates, with irregular migration, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, and cross border crimes taking centre stage.
He said the ICMPD works with governments to promote innovative, comprehensive and sustainable migration policies, tailored to meet the specific needs of partnering countries.
The ICMPD has been supporting the Government of Ghana since 2011 to enhance the capacities of government institutions to manage migration and expressed the hope to maintain the fruitful collaboration with the GIS and ensure that the legacy of cooperation established with the Government of Ghana is sustained.