LOME, TOGO, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for the border between his country and eastern neighbour Togo to be open round the clock to promote regional cohesion and economic development.

Speaking at a State banquet given in his honour here Wednesday, he explained that such a move would boost trade and tourism, and ensure that the peoples of the two nations reaped the economic benefits.

The opening of our borders will give true meaning to the Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) protocols on Free Movement of Goods and Persons, and will spur progress and prosperity for our peoples, he added at the State dinner given in his honour by his Togolese counterpart, President Faure Gnassingbe.

President Akufo-Addo was in that country on the first-leg of a three-nation tour of Ghana’s immediate neighbours — Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire — in a wider move to introduce himself to and deepen relations with countries in the Ecowas sub-region.

The three-nation tour is the first phase of the President’s quest to strengthen bilateral ties and to restate Ghana’s commitment to Ecowas. Later this month, he will visit seven other Ecowas member countries — Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Benin, Cape Verde, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

President Akufo-Addo said it was extremely important for the welfare of the 350 million people living in West Africa that its leaders showed strong political will to make Ecowas an economic and political success, and to make integration real.

I am fully committed, and I know President Faure Gnassingbe is too. With West Africa’s population set to reach some 500 million people in 20 years time, there are immense opportunities to bring prosperity to our region with enterprise and creativity. The time for West African integration is now. Ghana and Togo should take the lead in converting ECOWAS into a true regional market, and, indeed, in helping to facilitate the wider efforts at continental integration and unity, he added.