States tend to prioritise relations with their nearest neighbours, as, in most instances, one’s neighbours represent the closest opportunities for trade, travel and political ties. Among many other things, those countries often share geographical, cultural and ethnic connections.
It is, therefore, not out of place for Ghana to place premium on its relations with its next-door neighbours and that is exactly what can be said of Burkina Faso.
As a country, Ghana has enjoyed a very peaceful relationship with Burkina Faso which has transcended political and cultural ties.
We are not oblivious of the spirit of good neighbourliness that exists between these two countries which has further deepened since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assumed office.
There is no doubt that this new era of cordiality between the two countries augurs well for the development of trade and industry and mutual advancement of the citizens of both nations.
We at the Daily Graphic are gladdened by the visit of the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, to Ghana and his subsequent meeting with President Akufo-Addo aimed at strengthening and deepening the ties of friendship and co-operation, while they explore other areas of co-operation for the mutual benefit of the citizens of both countries.
Amid the smiles and the display of warm affection between the two Heads of State, we are concerned about certain developments and pledges they made last year but which are yet to materialise.
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For instance, when the two Heads of State met in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, during a similar visit by President Akufo-Addo to that country, both countries re-affirmed the crucial need to rapidly establish the railway interconnection project in order to realise an increase in the movement of goods and persons and the corresponding economic and commercial benefits along the rail corridor of Ghana and Burkina Faso.
It appears not much has been done, even by way of getting Ghanaians updated on developments.
Another issue of worry is the annual opening of the spillways of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso which destroys lives, farmlands, livestock and properties in Ghana. Again, both Presidents Akufo-Addo and Kabore agreed last year to extend cooperation in the utilisation of the excess water from the dam for irrigation purposes in the two countries.
That informed the decision to reactivate the Joint Technical Committee on Integrated Water Resource Management (JTC-IWRM) to oversee and manage the annual spillage to reduce the perennial flooding downstream.
However, this has not changed the narrative, as precious lives, farmlands, livestock and properties have had to bear the brunt of the harsh and torrent overflow of the Bagre Dam.
On agriculture, and in order to curb the smuggling of agro-chemicals across the borders of both countries, there was an agreement between the Heads of State to adopt measures to stop the illegal movement of agro-chemicals, especially fertiliser, from Ghana to Burkina Faso.
It is sad to state that very little has been done by the authorities of the two countries to reduce the smuggling of fertiliser to Burkina Faso.
It is public knowledge that this criminal activity is rather getting worse and the authorities are not being proactive enough to end the practice.
We believe that some of these unfortunate developments which have festered for a while require urgent attention to give true meaning to the good neighbourliness that exists between the two nations.