October 24, 2019

BORDERS

Borders, Terror and challenges for prosperity in West Africa It is another wonderful month and we are elated to be reaching you through , which has become our West Africa Insight meeting point to discuss the various issues shaping our region and the rest of Africa. In this edition we focus on two topical issues that continue to shape our region as it strives towards democratic consolidation: Borders and Terrorism.
On the one hand, we look at the nature and evolution of borders and the challenge of effectively policing them due to the lack of state capacity in the face of the escalating problem of terrorism and its cross-border implications. On the other hand, we explore the existent economic potential which these border areas hold and how, if properly managed, they can be a boost for not just individual countries but for the region as a whole.
From the origins of West African states as colonial creations to their challenging topographical nature – whether along the Atlantic coastlines or the arid Sahelian desert – managing these spaces in the post colonial era has been challenging. In this context, most of these spaces have become a threat to security and peaceful co-existence. Rather than being the basis for strong socio-economic and political interactions, they have fast become dangerous grounds for the region and her people. In the Gulf of Guinea and along the Atlantic coastline, the activities of pirates, militants, drug smugglers have become a major source of concern. The rising threat levels have led to several initiatives by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), alongside other actors. In a similar vein, the Sahelian border areas have been confronted with several security threats. In recent times the activities of terrorist organisations have created a major quagmire for the region. The activities of Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) and other such extremist organisations have further laid bare the ineffectiveness and lack of state capacity to govern borders, manifesting in gruesome acts of terror and its cross-border implications. Linked closely to this is the escalating problem of trafficking of people and drugs, which also exploits the lack of adequate and effective security along and across borders. Regional cooperation among West African states is the one way through which these challenges can be addressed. While there are ongoing efforts towards this, the current situation has made it even more urgent if the region is going to be able to harness the potential benefits of their borders.
Even as West Africa faces the task of managing its borders, it is important to point out that these areas possess huge economic potential that can impact positively on the regions and its people. This is illustrated in the article by Leena Hoffmann and Paul Melly, who examine the booming but unrecorded trade along Nigeria’s borders with Niger, Benin, Cameroon and Chad. The increasing levels of informal trade are to a large extent due to the policies of countries, which are driving many people and companies who normally should be in the formal sector into the informal sector. This situation has cost these countries and the region a huge amount of financial resources that would have accrued to the state. As resources continue to dwindle, the onus is on the countries of the region to find ways of getting hold of the revenues that result from the trade to boost their revenue resources.
As Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and ISIL continue their contest for West Africa through the recent escalated number of attacks across the region, Terfa Hemen in his article interrogates the tactics of terrorism as used by non-state actors and asks whether they have been successful. This edition also highlights the fact that even as the Boko Haram insurgence has plagued the region, there have been voices in several quarters contradicting and denouncing the group’s messages of violent extremism. CDD senior fellow, Prof Sanni Umar explores some of these narratives to show that contrary to what many tend to say, there are many Muslims who are against the extremist views posed by a minority within Islamic circles.
It is our expectation that the array of issues in this edition will make for an engaging and encouraging read. See you soon.

Idayat Hassan
Director, CDD

Banner
Related Posts

Making Medicine

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Many factors contribute toward a conducive environment in which the pharmaceutical industry will invest in a country or partner with...

Maternal Health

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Even as reproductive condition is vastly improving for women in Western countries, the recently concluded International Conference on Maternal Health...

Conflict Risks

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

The past two decades have witnessed rapid escalation in prominence of security threats such as terrorism, state fragility, nuclear proliferation,...

Food Security

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Of shortage of food,shortage of will “POOR RESEARCH CAUSES FOOD SHORTAGE.” “LOCAL TOMATOES WASTING AS N11.7BN FOREIGN IS IMPORTED.”“GOV WADA...

Technology, Health and Mega cities

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Academic Industrial Actions Recently, a young undergraduate called to ask if university teachers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff...

Mali adopts ‘national consensus’ law

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Mali’s government has adopted a “national consensus” law that could lead to amnesty for rebels who took part in a...

Beyond Numbers: the Real Cost of Boko Haram Insurgency

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Beyond Numbers: the Real Cost of Boko Haram Insurgency The current Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria sends shivers down spines...

ARMED CONFLICTS IN AFRICA

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

The just concluded U.S-Africa Leaders Summit brings to mind the Otto Von Bismarck hosted Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 where Africa...

Deforestation

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

it was thought to be a novel, path-breaking intervention when the United Nations declared in the late 1980s that the...

Transport

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

he radios ring with advice on what not to do on the road. It’s 7:30am on a weekday in an...

Subsidy

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Often, one can read any feeling into West Africa: you may choose hope or despair or indifference, depending on what...

ECOWAS yet to decide on Morocco’s membership

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Economic Community of West African States has said it was yet to decide on the request by the Kingdom of...

Narcotics

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Drug of ruin Narcotics are becoming a grave concern for West Africa. The controlled or banned substances have been subjects...

Palm Oil

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Can Palm Oil Lubricate West Africa’s Energy Supply? Malaysia and Singapore are two of the world’s leading palm oil producers....

Empowerment Initiatives

August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

In Mali, a humanitarian crisis is following in the wake of the political crisis there. Rebels have captured territories using...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *