Cross-border Co-operation and Policy Networks in West Africa

image of Cross-border Co-operation and Policy Networks in West Africa

This publication examines how policy actors involved in cross-border co-operation contribute to the regional integration process in West Africa. It uses a pioneering methodology, known as social network analysis, to visualise the formal and informal relationships between actors involved in cross-border policy networks, showing that borders have notable and diverse impacts on exchanges of information and the relative power of networks. The report then analyses a range of regional indicators of co-operation potential, visually demonstrating that borders can also affect the ability of sub-regions within West Africa to develop cross-border initiatives in a number of ways. Combining these two analyses with the perceptions of regional policy makers as to which border areas they consider as priorities for regional integration, the publication concludes with the analytical foundations for more effective place-based policies that can enhance cross-border co-operation in West Africa.

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Cross‑border co‑operation in West Africa: Bridging the gap between research and policy

Sahel and West Africa Club

Chapter 1 starts by looking at West Africa’s future, where rapid population growth is expected to continue over the next two generations. Settlement basins will continue to densify and expand, reaching across borders, and there will be more and larger cities. As a result, cross-border interaction will increase naturally regardless of the level of support from national and regional policy. The chapter will then look briefly at the cross-border dynamics developed by local actors which share a number of common factors, namely: bypassing institutional initiatives and dealing with the abuse of power, absence or shortcomings of those in charge of applying regulatory controls. It lastly addresses the potential of the paper’s research and the advantage of actively narrowing the gap between bottom-up regionalisation dynamics and top-down regionalism, while considering the time-lags frequently experienced in improving public policy.

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