ECOWAS Set To Build Modern Joint Border Post -Clears Up 130 Structures At Bo Waterside In Preparation

MONROVIA: The Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) Commission is all set to begin the construction a modern Joint Border Post (JBP) in Bo Waterside, Grand Cape Mount, in a bid to, amongst other things, facilitate free trade amongst member countries, mainly Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A Bilateral Joint Border Technical Committee has demolished over 130 structures/houses in the Bo Water Side area for the construction of the facility.

It can be recalled that in 2008, the ECOWAS Transport Ministers met and agreed on the functionality study of the development and establishment of the Joint Border in the Region.

As a consequence, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government thru a Supplementary Act/SA/SA 1/10/13 approved the establishment of a Joint Border post in Member States including one between Liberia and Sierra Leone (Bo-waterside/Jendema) in 2013.

At the request of the ECOWAS Commission, the ECOWAS Bi-lateral Joint Border Post Technical Committee was established in 2019 comprising of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Liberia Land Authority, (LLA), Ministry of Internal Affairs, ( MIA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the ECOWAS Special Representative Office, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Ministry of Transport (MoT), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and chair by the ECOWAS National Office.

Also in 2020, the Joint Border Committee, along with local County Authorities, identified and selected the 17.5 acres of Land containing 135 structures. The land was surveyed and cadastral plan (site plan) forwarded to the ECOWAS Commission as requested in 2021.

The committee also held multiple consultative meetings with local authorities and identified the actual and legal home owners for the consideration of RAP package benefits.

The Government of Liberia thru the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning fulfilled its commitment to ECOWAS and paid 100 percent RAP benefits to all affected residents.

The Joint Committee will help to oversee the construction of the project beginning with field visitations and consultation with major stakeholders, coordinate the selection and donation of construction site to ECOWAS by the local authorities, ensure the determination of resettlement payments and packages for affected residents and community citizens and confirm that affected home owners are duly paid.

The Joint Committee will solicit uncontested commitment for residents’ relocation after receipt of their resettlement payments and solicit full commitment and support from the Government of Liberia thru the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, etc. and present findings of these key responsibilities the Government Liberia thru the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning -the Ministry in Charge of ECOWAS Affairs for approval and appropriate action, and facilitate Member States (LIBERIA) effort to ensure the availability of the necessary sites (17.5 Acres of Land) for the development of the Joint Border Posts.

According to a release, the Pearl Consulting Engineering Firm was hired by ECOWAS through a competitive process and they have begun the design engineering stage of the project.

The Post, according to the release, will help facilitate free trade, facilitate and support free movement of the countries’ population, goods and services especially in the border region.

It will also significantly remove, reduce or eliminate trade barriers; facilitate the creation of job mainly for border residents and youths; increase economic activities especially the local content of (acquisition of sand, rocks and locally manufactured goods, etc); reduce time for border crossing between countries and socio-economic benefit for trade growth, improved economic status of the border settlements.

The Joint border post also serves as mitigating mechanism for seamless checks, which supports ECOWAS protocol of Free Movement of persons, good, services in the region.

The Joint Border Post have the advantage of serving as a platform for the implementation of measure aimed at simplifying customs procedures while increasing cooperation and coordination of border controls and the fight against harassment, extortion and bad trade practices along the corridor.

It will also facilitate the effective implementation of regional policies, backed up by strong regional institution and the birth of adequate regional infrastructure.

The Pearl Consulting Engineering Firm was hired by ECOWAS through a competitive process and they have begun the design engineering stage of the project.

Ten border youths each from Liberia and Sierra Leone were hired and trained to serve as survey and traffic assistants for Phase I of the Design stage

Commencement of phase II of engineering design stage to begin by end of September 2023.

The Joint Border Technical Committee thanked Madam Josephine Nkrumah ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia and Mr. Cletus T. Noah, representing the Honorable Minister of Finance and Development Planning and all relevant stakeholders for their active participation in the demolition exercises.

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