Border dynamics in West Africa

West Africa is subdivided by 32 000 kilometres of land borders. Given the heterogeneity of West African border areas and in order to better adapt to local development, cross‑border co‑operation policy should be based on the resources of each region. SWAC has supported border co-operation for many years and in 2017-18, work will focus on promoting the role of cross-border urban economies in building regional integration, identifying the levers for developing cross-border poles of attraction and analysing resilience to climate change. More broadly, the Secretariat provides support for regional and international strategies in order to better anticipate two major changes impacting the region: urbanisation and climate change.

Mapping border cities and accessibility

The analysis will aim to identify the forms and functions of border cities as well as their levels of co operation on a spatial basis using a set of key integration variables (physical, socio-economic and institutional). The specificities of border towns are generally measured by two types of indicators: those relating to the attributes of cities and those related to the flows connecting these cities to other national and international urban centres. The mapping including all borders cities (within 20 kilometres of a border) will help to answer the following: What are the spatial representations of urban border centres? How is cross-border trade organised? Is there a correlation between the characteristics of border cities and their accessibility measures? How do city morphologies and accessibility influence network structure and function? How does the organisation of border trade influence the morphologies of cities in terms of their relationships to borders and their functions? And more specifically, how are women traders’ networks organised?

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Resilience to climate change in border agglomerations

At the global scale, urban areas are responsible for over 70% of CO2 emissions and close to half of greenhouse gas emissions. The percentages are roughly the same in West Africa. So, what types of climate funding are suited to urban settings (post COP21 and 22)? Based on the results of the border cities and accessibility mapping, the work on resilience to climate change in border agglomerations will seek to assess the current state of cross-border law and identify shared legislative and financial levers that could improve the prospects for cross-border entities to strengthen resilience to climate change in border cities.  

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