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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Mapping cross border co-operation potential in West Africa

Sahel and West Africa Club

Chapter 5 attempts to identify the areas in West Africa that have the greatest potential for cross-border co-operation. It is based upon research that maps seven environmental, socio-economic and political indicators, highlighting the existence of wide spatial disparities between West African regions. The research indicates that the zones with the greatest potential for cross-border co-operation are concentrated in southern Senegambia, along the borders of Burkina Faso, in the Accra-Lagos conurbation, between Niger and Nigeria, and in the north of Cameroon, as these regions present greater cross-border accessibility and border market density than others. In particular, they share natural, agricultural or pastoral resources, do not face significant linguistic divides, and poverty gaps are neither too wide nor too narrow, promoting synergies and movement between countries. From an institutional perspective, it is easier to roll out cross-border programmes in those areas where the relevant borders are well delimited.

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