The European Union (EU) is to provide 20 million Euros to assist Ghana, under the GrEEn project, to tackle the root causes of illegal migration.

Madam Diana Acconcia, Head of the EU Delegation in Ghana, who announced this, said it formed part of the new Africa-European Alliance for sustainable investments and jobs.

The Western and Ashanti Regions would be the key beneficiaries of the vocational training, job creation and climate change adaptation support project.

“I can confirm that EU is considering further support in terms of security,” she stated at the launch of the: “Strengthening Border Security in Ghana”, (SBS Ghana) Project, in Accra, on Thursday.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister of the Interior, who launched the project, said the support was being extended because of Ghana’s efficient management of illegal migration issues.

Statistics indicate that Ghanaians who embarked on illegal migration to Europe and Asian countries had reduced immensely, he said.

The data compiled by the security agencies revealed that 5,756 people crossed the European borders illegally in the year 2016, while, 4,043 were recorded in 2018.

“As of July 2019, the figures were just 497,” he stated.

 The Minister said the United States Department had upgraded Ghana on its Watch List from tier three to two, meaning Ghana’s improved border management and security management was working.

The sustainable benefits of migration, the Minister said, could be derived only by putting in place the requisite structure, policies, laws, good implementation framework and capacity building of relevant state institutions.

The EU, under its Emergency Trust Fund, has also allotted five million Euros for the SBS Ghana project, to fight irregular migration, human trafficking, the smuggling of goods and other cross border crime.

The SBS project forms part of the Ghana Immigration Service’s (GIS) Strategic Plan, for 2018 to 2022.

It would also ensure greater security for citizens and visitors while guaranteeing respect for the rule of law and human rights standards by border management authorities.

The project, divided into two components, mainly focuses on the support for the Ghana Immigration Service by providing border management equipment and training.

The Ghana Police Service and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority would be involved with joint activities.

In its second component, Civil Society Organisations, media network and local authorities, would also develop projects to improve the cross border management of people, goods and services.

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) is implementing the project.

Mr Dery noted that international migration was now an inherent and integral part of the globalisation process.

Positive migration, he said, may yield benefits and provide long term solutions to contemporary challenges faced by developed and developing countries alike.

The Minister said the Government would demonstrate its commitment by providing resources to assist relevant actors in migration management to achieve their objectives.

Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, the Comptroller-General of the GIS, said many developing nations, including Ghana, were faced with a multiplicity of migration challenges.

The incidence of human trafficking and smuggling, cross border crime, as well as terrorists acts carried out in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Nigeria recently, presented security threats to Ghana.

“These occurrences call for concerted efforts to defeat these terrorists,” he added.

 Mr Takyi said under the SBS Ghana, it was envisaged that the territorial integrity of Ghana would be enhanced through training and the adoption of effective border patrol techniques by officials of the GIS and other sister security agencies.

He commended the EU for being a reliable ally of Ghana towards attaining effective migration management.

Mr Marco Bordignon, Project Manager of ICMPD, said SBS Ghana project had a component dedicated to CSOs, academia and the media.

He said a call for proposals would be launched in the next three months with the aim of funding innovative projects on border and mobility issues.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between EU, ICMPD and the GIS.

Mr Takyi signed for the GIS while, Madam Acconcia and Mr Bordignon signed for the EU and ICMPD, respectively.