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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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Social network analysis and cross‑border co‑operation in West Africa

Sahel and West Africa Club

Chapter 4 explores the theory of social network analysis and its applicability for cross-border co-operation in West Africa. The objective of this chapter is to show how a formal approach to the study of networks can be applied in West Africa to better understand how policy makers co-operate across borders in the region. The chapter starts by discussing some of the fundamental concepts developed by social network analysis over the last decades, including centrality, embeddedness, and brokerage. It then examines the methodological challenges of network analysis and how it differs from other approaches, before highlighting some of the policy implications of social network analysis for West Africa.

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