ADDIS ABABA, 6 March 2021 – The African Union (AU) Continental Strategy has been finalized, firming up a way of coordinating on border policies across Africa, the continental body said Friday.
Known in full as the African Union Continental Strategy for Better Integrated Border Governance, the goal is to enhance peace and security by minimizing border disputes known to be at the origin of most inter-state armed conflicts in Africa.
The strategy calls for more initiatives that foster bilateral cooperation as well as policies focused on borderland development between and among neighboring countries.
It builds on and contributes on the Afican Union’s Agenda 2063 and will be implemented in partnership with Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
The African Union recognizes that some of the RECs, like ECCAS – the bloc of Central African States – is less equipped to assist member states in resolving border issues than others, such as the Horn of Africa bloc of nations under IGAD or the west African states under the Economic Community of West African States.
As a result, a focus of implementation of the strategy will involve capacity building.
Border issues under the African Union Constitutive Act are laid out in Article 4 b and f; the 1964 Cairo Resolution [AHG/Res.161], and the AU Convention on Cross Border Cooperation (also known as the Niamey Convention).
“Peace and security have been fundamentally intertwined with the good governance of borders and the attainment of sustainable development of borderlands,” said Ambassador Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.
“African national borders are afflicted by a multitude of troubles that straddle villages and communities,” writes The Conversation in an essay.
The most well-known conflicts are of a military nature, resulting in significant loss of lives, but other border conflicts are linked to cross-border terrorism and cattle rustling, ethnic violence and secessionist movements.