Borders and Conflicts in North and West Africa

This publication examines the role of border regions in shaping patterns of violence since the end of the 1990s in North and West Africa. Using the innovative OECD Spatial Conflict Dynamics indicator (SCDi), the report looks at the growing relationship between political violence and borderlands at the regional level, by analysing more than 170 000 violent events between January 1997 and June 2021 and through the exploration of case studies in the Central and Eastern Sahel. Violence in border regions is both more intense in terms of the number of victims and more diffuse geographically than ever before. This report combines quantitative data on the location of violent events and victims, their mapping over time and space, and an analysis of the actors in conflict to answer three crucial questions i) Are borderlands more violent than other spaces? ii) Has the intensity of violence in border regions increased over time? iii) Are some borderlands more violent than others? The growing importance and complexity of transnational conflicts and transnational violent groups in North and West Africa calls for a more place-based analysis in order to create better tailored and more flexible policy options.

Published on February 19, 2022Also available in: French

In series:West African Studiesview more titles


The Sahel and West Africa Club
Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive Summary
How borders shape conflict in North and West Africa
The increasingly transnational nature of conflict in North and West Africa
Mapping border conflicts in North and West Africa
The changing geography of conflict in North and West Africa
Why borderlands have become more violent in North and West Africa
Reducing violence in African borderlands: Policy perspectives
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