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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West African cross‑border policy networks

Sahel and West Africa Club

Chapter 7 seeks to chart the way in which organisations and individuals are connected within cross-border policy networks in West Africa. One of the major challenges for cross-border co-operation is successfully managing to establish principles and pursue initiatives which transcend specific national characteristics. In doing so, cross-border co-operation brings together organisations with very different objectives and individuals with very different profiles, who must nevertheless work together and achieve mutually acceptable consensuses. Based on the results of a field survey carried out across the West African region, and in the areas of the Senegal River valley, Liptako-Gourma, and the Lake Chad region in particular, the report highlights the actors involved in cross-border co-operation, their formal and informal relationships, the structural constraints limiting their exchanges of information and power, and the impact of national borders on the regional construction process.

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