The EU’s commitment to supporting West African nations, including Ghana, in their fight against terrorism and instability is a significant step in the right direction
In recent years, West Africa has become a battleground for a growing terrorist insurgency that threatens the stability of the region. The Sahel, an arid belt of land located just south of the vast Sahara Desert, has been at the epicentre of this conflict.
The Sahel region has been plagued by various terrorist groups for years. These groups have been actively seeking to expand their operations targetting the coastal nations of West Africa, a region traditionally known for its relative peace and stability.
Europe’s offer of assistance
In response to the escalating crisis, the European Union (EU) has extended a helping hand. The EU has pledged to provide military support to several West African nations, particularly those along the Gulf of Guinea, to help them defend against the increasing threat of terrorism. This support includes the provision of armoured vehicles among other resources.
Focus on Ghana
One of the key beneficiaries of the EU’s military aid is Ghana. Located in West Africa, Ghana is home to approximately 34 million people and boasts a relatively strong economy with a nominal GDP of $76 billion making it one of the wealthier African nations. Ghana’s wealth is primarily derived from its abundant resources including gold, cocoa and crude oil.
However, despite its economic potential, Ghana faces significant challenges that make it vulnerable to terrorism and instability.
“Today we come together to officially unveiled a generous donation of 105 militarized vehicles provided by the European Union to support the counterterrorism efforts of the Ghana Armed Forces,” said Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister Of National Security.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Borrell said that the spillover of terror from the Sahel is already underway. This is the reason why Ghana is preparing itself for the fight. However, the country may be ill-equipped to keep extremism out due to two key factors: its geography and its economy.
Ghana’s geographical location places it on the doorstep of the Sahel, the epicentre of the ongoing insurgency. The Sahel states share a border with Ghana making the country particularly susceptible to spillover violence and security threats. While Ghana is resource-rich, this wealth has not always translated into prosperity for its citizens. The country faced an economic crisis marked by high inflation and mounting public debt, reaching approximately 90 per cent of its GDP. In December of the previous year, Ghana defaulted on loans from foreign lenders and had to secure a $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This economic fragility not only hampers Ghana’s development but also creates an environment conducive to instability and the recruitment efforts of terrorist organisations.
Recent challenges: The power crisis
Ghana’s economic challenges have been further exacerbated by a recent power crisis. Despite being a country rich in oil and gas resources, the nation has faced recurring electricity shortages. These energy problems, alongside other economic issues, have the potential to foster instability and provide an opening for terrorist groups to exploit.
European Union strategy
The EU recognises the severity of the situation and is determined to help stabilise the region. They have initiated a military aid outreach programme, which includes providing armoured vehicles to Ghana and three other countries along the Gulf of Guinea: Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin. In total, the EU’s assistance package is valued at approximately $650 million.
Borrell stressed the urgency of the situation, likening the spillover of insecurity from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea to climate change – a reality that is happening now, not a future threat.
The EU’s commitment to supporting West African nations, including Ghana, in their fight against terrorism and instability is a significant step in the right direction. However, the road ahead remains challenging and it is uncertain whether these measures will be enough to secure the region’s peace and stability. As German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Ghana as part of a broader West Africa tour, it is evident that international collaboration and investment are crucial in the fight against terrorism in this vulnerable region. The world will be closely watching to see if these efforts are enough to prevent an insurgency and help stabilise Ghana’s economy.
Source: First Post