Cross-border co-operation networks in West AfricaSeptember 2017
Long seen as artificial barriers inherited from decolonisation, West African borders now lie at the heart of policies designed to encourage regional trade and combat political instability.
This rediscovery of the peripheries of the nation state has fostered a proliferation of institutional initiatives that aim to cultivate co-operation between countries, regions and municipalities while ensuring the protection and promoting the interests and rights of the people living in border regions. Despite these regional initiatives, the effective functioning of cross-border co-operation still remains largely unknown across West Africa. The purpose of this paper is to fill that gap, with an analysis of both the social structure and the geography of West African governance networks. On the basis of this structural and geographic analysis, policy recommendations are formulated aimed at implementing policies that are more place-based, more attentive to relations between the actors at play in co-operation, and more specifically adapted to the constraints and opportunities of the West African region.Back to list