On this momentous day, we stand united to celebrate the collective strides we have made since the inception of Africa Border Day by the African Ministers in Charge of Borders on 25 May 2010. It is a day that shines a spotlight on the African Union Border Programme (AUBP), a testament to our shared commitment and urging all stakeholders to intensify their dedication to its successful implementation.

Since 2007, the AUBP has been the cornerstone of our collective endeavour to transform our borders from barriers into bridges of solidarity. This transformation is not just pivotal, but crucial in pre-empting conflicts, fostering regional cohesion, and propelling continental integration forward. We should leverage our Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to transform our borders into arenas of peaceful dialogue and constructive engagement. Our borders should not be subjects of contention but rather bedrocks for policy implementation, as encapsulated in the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention) and the African Union Strategy for Border Governance.

In the spirit of Agenda 2063, our borders emerge as instruments of opportunity, playing a crucial role in the pursuit of peace and security across the continent. This pivotal moment demands a renewed and intensified pledge from Member States, RECs, and all stakeholders to fortify the AUBP’s accomplishments and expand its reach.

Today, our security challenges are predominantly concentrated along our border areas, which were once overlooked but are now at the forefront of our battle against cross-border crime and terrorism. It is imperative that we concentrate our efforts in these regions to cultivate peace, security, and sustainable development.

The resilience we foster in border communities, fuelled by cross-border cooperation, equips us to combat transnational crime and mitigate the impacts of climate change. By embracing cooperative strategies, we can ensure effective management of forced displacements, food shortages, humanitarian crises, and resource-related conflicts.

The AUBP’s mission extends beyond conflict prevention; it is a tool for resolving border disputes that have resurfaced, spurred by the allure of newfound natural resources. While international arbitration remains an option, its protracted and costly nature often strains the camaraderie between nations.

Member States must prioritise dialogue and cooperation as alternative dispute-resolution methods. When necessary, the AU encourages the invocation of the political, diplomatic, and technical resources to secure enduring resolutions to border disputes.

As we celebrate this year’s Africa Day, let us amplify our efforts to embed our borders at the core of Agenda 2063’s objectives. We must unite to forge an integrated Africa characterised by peaceful, open, and prosperous borders that are a testament to our shared vision and collective strength.

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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