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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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Regionalism, regional integration and regionalisation in West Africa

Sahel and West Africa Club

Chapter 3 reviews the implications of the enlargement of ideas of regionalism since the 1990s and calls for more systematic monitoring of the diversity of region-building institutions and cross-border interactions in West Africa. It highlights that specific attention needs to be paid to the historical development of West Africa’s regional institutions and their distinctive architectures and cultures. The dynamics of cross-border interactions that provide diverse contributions to integration are then analysed, along with the implications of “defragmentation” policies and processes that should enhance the regional and global integration of African economies. Against this backdrop, the conclusion draws attention to the importance of deepening understanding of the policy-networks that operate both within regional institutions and across borders.

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