AN ASSESSMENT OF THE MARITIME BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN GHANA AND COTE D’IVOIRE SINCE 2007
Diplomatic relations between Ghana and her western neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire, got strained when Cote d’Ivoire in 2008 challenged Ghana over a maritime boundary. The disputed area covers portions of the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) and the Deepwater Tano blocks, where Ghana is currently carrying out oil exploration and exploitation. The area is estimated to hold about 2 billion barrels of oil reserves and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The boundary dispute intensified in 2010 when Vanco, an oil exploration company discovered oil in the Dzata-1 deepwater-well for Ghana. This dispute poses a threat to the peaceful relations between the two countries and as requires a one-time solution to ensure that the two countries continue to live peacefully as neighbours. The main objective of the research conducted was to assess the position of both parties and evaluate the consequences of the dispute on the bilateral relations between the two neighbours and in doing so the qualitative approach to research was used. The research approach was chosen based on the fact that the research is descriptive in form. Key findings included the fact that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire could not arrive at mutual agreement despite several bilateral attempts. Also, Ghana may be required to make appropriate reparations at the end of the case should the Special Chamber determine that any part of the disputed area pertains to Cote d’Ivoire and if it concludes that any rights of Cote d’Ivoire have been violated by the activities of Ghana in the area. The fact that the two countries could not reach an amicable settlement of the dispute is an indication that current relations between the two countries is not the best. The two countries should therefore continue to use peaceful means in resolving their differences and refrain from any act that will undermine the provisional rulings of the Special Chamber.