Why Africa's borderlands matter
Africa’s borderlands and their communities are a unique source of ingenuity, places of untapped opportunities and great resilience. In many of these regions, insecurity and poverty disguise the true socio-economic potential of borderlands and their communities. In improved circumstances, borderland communities could thrive by unlocking their potential and rich culture that will be critical to achieving Agenda 2030.
‘Borderlands’ are the territorial margins of nation-states – regions where border contact is a central feature of economic and political life. In Africa these regions play host to more than 270 million inhabitants, a combined population significantly larger than any single state on the continent.
Development approaches have tended to design programmes around national development plans, which are implemented within national borders and often overlook the unique challenges of borderlands and their connection to regions outside the national territory. The absence of dedicated borderland programming at a regional level has been a critical gap in developmental policy and practice.
The Africa Borderlands Centre treats border regions as distinct economic and political zones in their own right. The ABC offers specialized, expert knowledge and technical advice to enable the better design, implementation, and adaptation of development programmes for border regions across Africa. It is an expert resource of intelligence and expertise in support of national governments, inter-governmental agencies, UNDP country offices, UN agencies, development partners and other key stakeholders.
The ABC is committed to enhancing opportunities for people living in Africa’s borderlands and more importantly, giving them a voice to be an integral part of all ABC development programming.