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Transfrontier Regionalism. The Revival of Regional Integration in Africa

 | 
A.I. Asiwaju
, 
Daniel C. Bach

Transfrontier Regionalism

Perspectives on the European Union and post-colonial Africa with special reference to Borgu

A.I. Asiwaju

Texte intégral

Introduction

1Transfrontier regionalism refers to a novel category of international collaboration forced on adjacent sovereign states. Such states are compelled to interact for reasons not only of common interests in human and natural resources due to a shared international boundary, but also because of common concerns about cross-border environmental consequences and/or acts of God.

2This study specifically focuses on the artificial partitioning of ethnic groups, that is, peoples of identical languages and cultures separated by international boundaries. Transfrontier regions also affect a wide spectrum of transboundary natural resources, ranging from land, water (surface and underground), and air, to liquid and solid minerals, as well as the flora and fauna, i.e., the environment and ecosystem.

3The interactions generated by such transboundary human and natural resources could result in conflict and war, unless the policy put in place by the geographically contiguous neighbours promote cooperation and peace. While confrontation has been the dominant attitude, the cooperation option has always remained conceptually open.

  • 1 G. Vedovato, Transfrontier Cooperation and the Europe of Tomorrow, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, (...)
  • 2 Vedovato, p. 3.

4In Europe, since the end of the Second World War, policy emphasis has significantly shifted from a disposition of war to an ever-increasing commitment to the exploration and systematic utilization of the peace and cooperative potentials of international boundaries and shared borderlands. Originating as informal local initiatives based on the spontaneous reactions of transborder peoples and vivisected ethnic groups across several international boundaries in Western Europe, the organization of European Regions or Euregios’ (i.e., regions that, although traversed by international borders, nevertheless constitute a unit’)1 has evolved from the status of powerlessness to that of a well co-ordinated ‘power house of European integration’.2 Originally existing as informal organizations with no legal standing, Euregios presently operate throughout the region and are formally recognized by both domestic and international laws. They also operate effectively at both regional and sub-regional levels.

  • 3 For sample essays on North and Latin America, see L. Lambi, The Venezuela/Columbia borderlands : A (...)

5The practice of transborder cooperation has been so successful, and has manifested its contributions to the spectacular achievement of European integration to such an extent that it has attracted the attention of policy makers outside the primary diffusion centre in Western Europe. This form of cooperation has not only become the standard practice in Northern Europe –notably the Scandinavian countries –it has also been adopted as the model in Central and Eastern Europe since the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communist regimes. It is also being actively canvassed and replicated outside Europe, notably in North and Latin America as well as in Asia.3

  • 4 Naine given to the Borgu by their Hausa neighbours.
  • 5 The Anglo-French partition of Borgu, 1989 : Borgu is located along the border of Western Nigeria a (...)
  • 6 For Asiwaju’s earlier writings on the subject of African potentials for transfrontier regionalism, (...)

6This paper looks at transborder interactions in Africa, with special reference to the active participation of the Borgawa4 on both sides of a shared boundary between Nigeria and Benin Republic. The centenary of the Anglo-French partition of Borgu,5 serves as an opportunity for a renewed reflection on the potential prospective African Regions or ‘Afregios’.6

7The paper is divided into five sections. The first section is the introduction. Section two describes the European model of transfrontier regionalism based on European historical experience and current practice. Section three indicates to what extent the European historical experience is comparable to the African situation. In section four, the Borgu case study is outlined to illustrate Africa’s ‘transfrontier regions’ with special reference to the crucial roles of vivisected culture areas and Africa’s ‘transborder peoples’. In the concluding section, an attempt is made to identify the necessary conditions for the successful realization and actualization of the African potential for transfrontier regionalism. It concludes with pointers to recent policy initiatives and developments that indicate an increasing interest in the idea of re-founding African regional integration endeavours on the cornerstones of transborder cooperation between geographically adjacent states, which are related historically, socio-economically and environmentally. Special emphasis is placed on the role of policy-making, especially at the level of the Organization of African Unity, and the imperative of appropriate research support.

The European Model

8Transfrontier regionalism in Europe started as a companion movement to the evolution of European integration. The adoption of a regional approach to development planning, and the systematic promotion of the concept of a new ‘Europe of the regions’ is in contradistinction to that of the old Europe of the nation-state. Indeed, the aim of transfrontier regionalism is the achievement of transfrontier micro-integration that would dovetail with the European macro-integration. Transfrontier regionalism was originally promoted by the European Council (founded in 1949), and then boosted in the 1980s by the European Economic Community, now known as the European Union. Giuseppe Vedovato, an Italian statesman, gives a historical account :

  • 7 Vedovato, Frontier Cooperation, p. 3. Older historical accounts are contained in Victor von Malchu (...)

The starting point for the development of transfrontier regions can be situated in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, when the insurmountable political and ideological barriers that had descended on Europe, and the serious problems of reconstruction, made it necessary to look to new openings and new territorial cooperation ‘ models’. It was a time that saw the almost spontaneous establishment of contacts between local communities that were to render frontiers more ‘permeable’ and give rise to a variety of different organizational forms.7

  • 8 See Association of European Border Regions (AERB) : European Charter on Frontier and Transborder R (...)

9By 1986, when the European Single Act was initiated to anticipate the primacy of regions as choice units for planning and development in Community Europe, Euregios and associated transfrontier cooperative initiatives, such as member states of the Council of Europe and the European Economic Community, had become permanent features of European life. The European Charter on Frontiers and Transfrontier Regions, adopted by the Association of European Border Regions with headquarters in Bonn, contains a list of 46 such regions and associations located all over Western and Northern Europe. These regions are concentrated on the Rhine (the Waal, in Netherlands), Europe’s main unifying river which, along its segments, serves as the international boundary between Germany and France, and between Germany and the Netherlands.8

  • 9 H.J. Briner, Regional planning and transfrontier cooperation : The Regio Basiliensi. In : Across B (...)
  • 10 R. Strassoldo, Perspective on frontiers. The case of Alpe Adria. In : The Frontiers of Europe. M. (...)

10Some typical examples of organized Euro-regions are the Regio Basiliensi, created definitively in 1963 around the Swiss-French-German tri-national conurbation of Basel, as the nucleus of a larger transfrontier region that comprises the Swiss Jura, the German Black Forest, and the French Vosges, which is a region of about 2 million inhabitants who share a common local German dialect.9 In 1970, the Rhine-Waal Euregio was launched to promote German-Dutch cooperation in the area along and across the binational boundary. The ‘Arge Alp’, the ‘Alpe Adria’ and the ‘Cotrao’ — regional organizations of the Central, Eastern and Western Alpine regions respectively — connect Italy with particular Alpine neighbouring countries, including former communist Yugoslavia in the case of the Alpe Adria10 at the height of the existence of the Iron Curtain. In Northern Europe, the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) have established a series of bilateral and multilateral agreements to curb activities that could lead to the pollution of the air, soil, fresh water and sea. The regions most advanced in transfrontier cooperation include : the North Calotte Area, the West Nordic Region, Archipelago, Arko, Ostfold-Bohus, Orsund Canal and the Bornholm Southeastern Skane.

11The organizations of the individual transfrontier regions draw considerable strength from their multi-sectoral nature, each combining social, economic, environmental and other interests and, thus, involving a large number of stakeholders. Another strong point of the organizations is their favourable disposition to being federated into bigger and stronger regional formations such as the Committee for the Promotion of the Alpine Region with headquarters in Turin, Italy, and the Conference of the Upper Rhine Valley Planners. Other transfrontier cooperation models, which emphasize specialized fonctions include the Euro-regions of the Cities, such as the one involving several municipalities in the Meuse-Rhine Euregio ; the Euro-region of the Chambers of Commerce ; the Cooperation Agreement between the Vice-Chancellors of the Universities of Liege (France), Maastricht (Netherlands) and Aix-la-Chapelle (Germany), and the more imaginative International Scheldt Faculty linking higher education and applied research in Zeeland and Flanders.

12Over the years, especially since the late 1970s, transfrontier regionalism in Europe has developed tremendously in the areas of lobbying power and political influence. This significant growth has been achieved by a capacity for self-empowerment exhibited by European borderlanders in the building of certain strategic institutions, which won recognition and support for transfrontier regionalism at national as well as international levels. These borderlanders also exploited to the full the advantages of a wider political environment characterized by the post-1945 embrace of democracy and commitment to respect for fundamental human rights.

13The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) was established in Bonn in the early 1980s, and has since functioned as the common front at the continental level. This was followed by the creation of the liaison office of the European Regional Organizations, anchored on the AEBR and strategically located in Strasbourg, which is also the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, both of which constitute target European institutions.

14The adoption of not only the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Cooperation Between Territorial Authorities and Communities in 1980, but also of the Additional Protocols to the Outline Convention in 1993, by the Council of Europe, the creation within the council’s secretariat of a specialized Office for Local and Regional Authorities in 1984, as well as the institutionalization of the Conference of Ministers Responsible for Regional Planning are all part of a wider array of evidence of the tremendous influence which transfrontier regionalism wields on European institutions in Strasbourg.

15The adoption of the Single European Act and the establishment thereby of regions as the primary planning and development units in the European Community is proof of an equally effective penetration by transfrontier regionalism into the European Economic Community and the European Economic Commission in Brussels. Border regions, which constitute the bulk of the ‘trans-regional’ category (i.e., regions in different states, especially those on both sides of borders between member states) recognized in the act, have been the main beneficiaries of the European Region Development Fund (ERDF) established by the European Economic Commission and disbursed under their INTERREG Programmes.

  • 11 Vedovato, pp. 9-13.

16The collapse of communist regimes in the early 1990s and the subsequent establishment of democratic, political and economic pluralism in Central and Eastern Europe resulted in increased prospects for the ultimate admission of former Communist Europe into the European Union.11 Various events point to a wide range of transborder cooperative projects across boundaries between Western and Eastern Europe as well as between the former command economies themselves.

17In the first subcategory are the ‘Euregio Egrensis’, consisting of local authorities of the Czech Republic and the German Lander of Eastern Upper Franconia, the Northern Upper Palatinate and the Saxon Vogtland. A similar example is the Pomeranian Euregio, astride the Oder-Neisse border between Poland and Germany. More direct evidence of the link between the transborder co-operation initiative in Central and Eastern Europe and their Western European counterparts, is in Poland’s ratification of the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Authorities and Communities in 1993. In addition, its provisions are frequently cited as antecedents for Poland’s various transborder cooperation agreements with neighbouring countries, both in the West as well as in Eastern and Central Europe.

18The other subcategory of actively organized transfrontier regions in Central and Eastern Europe, linking the former communist states directly with one another, may be illustrated by the Carpathian Euregio project initiated in 1992 and formally established in early 1993. The project covers approximately 118,000 square kilometres of land and involves about 12.5 million people, found along the adjacent borderlands of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine, with Romania participating as an observer on account of her provinces in Northern Transylvania. It is assisted by the Institute for East-West Studies in Atlanta, United States of America, and is funded by an American foundation and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation of Japan. Outside contributions are made to a specially created Foundation for the Development of the Carpathian Euro-region. The new transborder regional development initiatives in Eastern and Central Europe are also supported by the European Region Development Fund (ERDF) especially under PHARE programme.

The African Model

An overview

  • 12 See in particular. A.I. Asiwaju, Borderlands in Africa : A comparative research perspective with p (...)

19It has been stated in several of the writer’s publications12 that contrary to popular belief, state territories and boundaries in postcolonial Africa are structurally and functionally similar to those found elsewhere in the wider world of the nation-state, created as a consequence of imperialist expansion and colonial domination by erstwhile metropolitan powers, which are the core member states of the Council of Europe and the European Union.

20Significant similarities have been identified between Africa and Europe, especially with respect to the local people’s perception of the arbitrariness of the processes and overall artificiality of the partition. Although there are important differences in the historical and geographical details, comparative studies of the impact of the boundaries in Africa and Europe reveal more similarities than differences. It is unfortunate that these similarities are often overlooked.

21It is generally lamented, for example, that Africa was badly partitioned ; that African boundaries were arbitrarily drawn with little or no regard for pre-existing socio-economic patterns and networks and are, therefore, artificial ; that the boundaries have led to the erratic separation of unified culture areas and a fragmentation of coherent natural planning regions and ecosystems ; that a great deal of Africa’s current economic problems have stemmed from the division of territories into a large number of competitive, rather than complementary, national economies ; and, finally, that much of the continent’s current political problems have originated from the arbitrary nature of the colonial boundaries.

22However, none of these claims is unique to Africa. Detailed case studies of Europe have demonstrated a parallel experience. In Africa, as in Europe, neighbouring border regions have different official languages, national cultures and histories as well as differing economic systems, incompatible legal regimes and similar administrative traditions.

  • 13 P. Sahlin. Boundaries : The making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees University of California Pr (...)
  • 14 A.I. Asiwaju. Western Yorubaland under European Rule, 1889-1945. A comparative analvsis of French (...)

23This explains the close similarities that have been observed between, for example, the Catalans, an ethnic group –neither French nor Spanish –in the Cerdanya valley of the Eastern Pyrenees, which is split into two by the Franco-Spanish border ;13 and the Yoruba ethnic group, which was neither French nor British, but which was eventually officially separated into present-day Nigeria and Benin.14 The Catalans in Europe, and the Yoruba in Africa are but a few of the numerous vivisected ethnic groups or ‘transborder peoples’ found across virtually all state frontiers in the two continents.

  • 15 M. Foucher, The geopolitics of European frontiers. In : The Frontiers of Europe, M. Anderson, M. a (...)

24Partitioned Europe and Africa are, by virtually the same processes, continents consisting of a multiplicity of state territories and state frontiers ; Europe even more obviously so than Africa. Apart from the obviously larger number of states, considering the relatively smaller territorial size of Europe vis-à-vis Africa, there is also the fact of greater instability of the territorial framework of the nation state in Europe. This contrast is best displayed by the effect of widespread and ever deepening political crises of post-colonial Africa on state territories and boundaries in the continent on the one hand, and the widespread cartographic revisions of Europe that have been made as a consequence of contemporary European crises, on the other. It has been estimated, for example, that ‘more than 60 per cent of [Europe’s] present borders [were] drawn during the twentieth century’, and that no less than ‘8000 miles of new political lines’ have been drawn to delineate present-day Central and Eastern European countries as a result of the crises following the collapse of Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Old states have disintegrated and new ones have been created.15

25Modern state formation processes in Europe and Africa have given rise to territorial absurdities such as partitioned seas, lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys, forests, and deserts. Another consequence of these arbitrary boundaries is the emergence of ethnic or national minorities, with the resulting associated questions of irredentism and the more alarming practice of ‘ethnic cleansing’. State frontiers in both Europe and post-colonial Africa often serve as a catalyst to aggravate existing disputes and conflicts, sometimes within, but more frequently between the states.

26The boundaries within the African continent have remained, more or less, as created by European imperialists. These boundaries were drawn and fashioned after the borders in their respective European metropolitan countries. It has been argued elsewhere that, in Africa and in Europe, the boundary-making processes, as well as the structures and fonctions of the resultant state frontiers, are more similar than dissimilar. The same thing holds for the legal instruments and political ideologies that have been designed for their management ; i.e., similar treaties, protocols, patterns of diplomacy and exchange of notes. The point, therefore, is that due to these essential similarities, the lessons learnt from experiences in one continent should help the other continent to avoid making similar mistakes.

Transfrontier Regionalist Pressures in Africa

27The pressures of local history and geopolitics of transborder cooperation and wider regional integration that have operated, and are still operating in Europe, also exist in Africa. Regarding transborder cooperation, it is pertinent to draw attention to widespread replication of vibrant transfrontier regions, which await appropriate policy adjustment to stimulate them into formidable transfrontier regional organizations capable of galvanizing the various fledgling sub-continental organizations and transforming them into an African regional organization, as envisioned in the African Economic Community Treaty initiated in 1991 on the basis of the model of the European Economic Community Treaty of 1957.

28Much like the European model, the future of transfrontier regionalism in Africa appears to be driven by four related forces : the local populations ; border economy ; natural resources and the environment ; and the widely recognized necessity to ground African regional/sub-regional integration projects on the realities of local African history and culture. In fact, the existence of these factors resulted in various micro-integration formations across Africa’s international boundaries, which after formalization could be used as cornerstones for the wider regional integration projects being pursued by states in the various sub-regions of the continent.

29Partitioned ethnic groups : The most fundamental force affecting transfrontier regionalism in Africa is the pervasive presence of vivisected or partitioned ethnic groups. These culture areas have ensured a systematic, sustained contradiction and obliteration of the normal barrier fonctions and effects of the international boundaries. The effacing impact of Africa’s ‘transborder peoples’ is sustained by strong networks of cultural, socio-economic and even political cross-border interactions. Partitioned ethnic groups speak closely related or identical indigenous languages and share related cultural identities such as a traditional religion, memories of common ancestral origin, similar socio-economic and political institutions as well as, in many instances, very close kinship ties.

  • 16 A.I. Asiwaju, Partitioned Africans.

30In situations such as those of the Shona across the Monica sector of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, the Ketu Yoruba astride the Nigeria-Benin border, or the Baatonu of the Nikki kingdom of Borgu straddling the Nigeria-Benin border, memories of a common allegiance to the same pre-colonial state are often retained, and these strengthen feelings of solidarity on both sides of these African boundaries. The significance of the ethnic dimension of transfrontier solidarity in Africa is underscored by its ubiquity.16

  • 17 For detailed references, see : Janet MacGaffee et al., The Real Economy of Zaire : The contributio (...)

31Cross-border trade : The second inter-related factor forging transfrontier regional growth is cross-border trade. This factor is significant in that after decades of being ignored, cross-border trade has become the focus of attention by researchers and consultants working for international development and donor agencies such as the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Paris-based Club du Sahel of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The studies, reports and publications that have resulted from these endeavours make clear the dominance of the unofficial forms of inter-African business transaction. The phenomenon of cross-border trade is evident all over Africa.17

  • 18 Egg and Igue, Market-driven Integration.

32The realization of the magnitude of cross-border trade flow and the truly regional character of its operational dynamics has led experts of West African studies to appreciate the need for a radical reorientation of the current approach to regional integration in favour of a new strategy known as ‘market-driven integration’.18 This strategy aims at discarding the present practice of modelling regional integration in Africa after the traditional international organizations, on the premise that it should be rooted in the realities of transnational interactions that are so strongly manifested in cross-border trade.

  • 19 ibid.

33The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has, therefore, been conceptually reorganized into three sub-groups based on the degree of intensity of economic interaction. The suggested restructuring of the West African subcontinent has resulted in the identification of three overlapping units :19 the West, embracing the wider Senegambia region that comprises Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea (Bissau) and Cape Verde ; the Centre West, comprising Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Sierra Leone ; and the East West which includes Nigeria and the neighbouring states of Benin, Togo, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. It is possible similarly to identify Tanzania and her neighbours — the Republic of South Africa and the territorially adjacent countries — and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire) and its immediate neighbours.

34Transborder natural resources factor. The third crucial factor affecting transborder regionalism in Africa is the pressure imposed by the economic importance of transborder natural resources. This importance is emphasized by the frequent use of rivers (the Zambezi, the Limpopo, and the Mano), lakes (Chad, Victoria, and Malawi) and mountains, (Cameroon, Adamawa, and Kilimanjaro) as boundaries ; as well as the commonplace characteristic of such transnational rivers as the Nile, the Niger, the Senegal, and the Orange as African rivers of unity.

35Transborder strategic resources have paradoxically demonstrated their potential as strong stimulants to transborder cooperation as well as transborder conflicts. For example, the offshore hydrocarbon deposits in the Gulf of Guinea have provoked a prolonged border dispute and recently triggered off armed conflicts and aggressive litigation between Nigeria and Cameroon ; Other conflicts include the Libya-Chad and Mali-Burkina Faso border conflicts with international litigations over stretches of shared boundaries suspected to be rich in solid minerals — the Aouzur strip in one case and the Agacher corridor in the other. The cross-border flora and fauna, critical to the all-important tourist industries of most Eastern and Southern African countries are also factors that could promote transfrontier regional harmony and trade as well as conflict.

  • 20 See Asiwaju, 1985 ; and 1995 ; and S. Adotevi, Cultural dimensions of economic and political integ (...)
  • 21 The bilateral series of consultative workshops between Nigeria and each of its neighbours has been (...)
  • 22 For the UNCRD initiative for Eastern and Southern Africa, see the special issue of Regional Develo (...)

36Transborder historical/cultural links : The fourth and final factor affecting prospects for transfrontier regionalism in Africa is the evidence of an ever-increasing number of advocacies. Advocacy for a ‘market-driven’ perspective has been used to bolster the argument for a reorientation of regional integration projects on the more solid foundation of local African cultures, inspired by known affinities of history and traditions of the people.20 This is in addition to the spontaneous popular support for, and grassroots participation in, the transborder cooperation policy consultative meetings that had been held between Nigeria and her neighbours in 1988-199221 and through the on-going Research Project on the Development of Border Regions in Eastern and Southern Africa initiated by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development Africa Office (UNCRD) in Nairobi, Kenya which took place in 1995 and 1996 in Zimbabwe.22

37There are reliable indicators that ‘regional group(s) made up of local political figures, economists and social scientists are coming together to devise the most appropriate scenarios’ for African border locations. These scenarios are similar to those which were played out in European transfrontier regionalist organizations. Maintenance of the current tempo for democratization in Africa will give African ‘regional groups’ the opportunity to transform into transborder co-operation pressure groups.

The Borgu Case Study

  • 23 J.C. Anene, The International Boundaries of Nigeria : The framework of an emergent African nation,(...)
  • 24 This estimate is owed, at least in part, to O. Bagodo, Liens ethniques et systèmes de chefferie tr (...)

38Borgu exemplifies a potential African transfrontier region and is characterized by a vibrant indigenous transborder population, which has a common ethnic and linguistic heritage. Borgu is especially distinguished by the extraordinary allegiance of the admittedly diverse constituent communities who jealously guard and collectively defend the territorial integrity of their nation. Situated on the right bank of the River Niger and ‘enclosed by the ninth and twelfth parallels of latitude and the first and fourth meridians of east longitude’,23 historic Borgu has been estimated to cover a territory of approximately 70,000 square kilometers and has about 2 million inhabitants.24 The hallmark of Borgu’s history is unity in the diversity of ethnicity, culture and polities.

39Borgu has consisted of two distinct areas since the Anglo-French partition of 1898. The communities to the West of the border, incorporated into the former French colony of Dahomey (present-day Republic of Benin), consist of such principal settlements as Nikki, Parakou, Djougou, Kouande, Kandi and Bembereke. The Nigerian Borgu is to the East of the border, and was formerly administered as part of the British Protectorate of northern Nigeria. It comprises such settlements and chiefdoms as Bussa, Illo, Kaoje, Koenji, Agwara, Rofia and Aliyara (Babana) and Wawa in the north, and Kaima, Kenu, Okuta, Ilesha, Gwanara and Yashkikera, in the south.

  • 25 For a recent study of the Nigerian Borgu, see O.D. Akinwunmi. The Nigerian Borgu. 1898-1989 : A hi (...)

40Presently, Borgu has remained divided into the two main official blocs of francophone Benin and anglophone Nigeria, while the different parts of this historic land have been further ‘scattered’ as a consequence of the problems created by territorial restructuring of each bloc during the colonial and post-colonial eras.25 For instance, the pre-colonial sensitivity about the overall integrity of Borgu on the Nigerian side of the border was completely ignored, first by a restructuring of the territory into two aggressively competing emirates — Kaima in the south and Bussa in the north. Then a series of territorial excisions and restorations were made in the northern Borgu. In 1905, for example, Illo, Kaoje, Lefaru, Gendenni in the northeast were merged with the Gwandu Emirate to compensate the Sokoto Caliphate for some of its territory which the British had conceded to the French. Although Agwara and Rofia were eventually restored to Borgu, Illo, Kaoje and Koenji remained in the Gwandu emirate, now part of Kebbi State, created in 1991. During the colonial period, Borgu was merged with other larger provinces such as Yauri, Kontagora and finally, Ilorin, which further confùsed its character. Nigerian Borgu was consequently split into four distinct local government areas located across the boundaries of three adjacent states : Kwara, Niger and Kebbi.

41The Borgu in Benin Republic have had a similar experience of internai territorial fragmentation. Apart from the usual division into smaller territorial units, solely for administrative convenience, there was the thoughtless merging of the Barba (i.e., the people of Borgu) with the non Barba into new administrative units such as Gourma and Middle Niger, two of the four cercles into which the Barba were initially located. The other two, which were predominantly Barba in population, were the Cercles of Borgu and Djougou-Kouande. Eventually, French Borgu was organized into two main cercles — Parakou, comprising the sub-divisions of Parakou, Bembereke and Nikki ; and Kandi, made up of the sub-divisions of Kandi, Malanville (predominantly Dendi in population) and Kouande. The location of the headquarters of Kandi Cercle in Natitingou within Somba country, outside historic Borgu, was culturally unacceptable to the Barba in the French sphere. Similarly, the merger of Illo with Gwandu in the Nigerian sector of Borgu was not accepted. Today, the Borgu of Benin have been absorbed into the départements (equivalents of states in Nigeria) of Borgu and Atacora and their constituent sous-prefectures (i.e., the French equivalent of local government areas in Nigeria).

42These colonial and post-colonial territorial restructurings and the attendant administrative practices, were unacceptable to the vast majority of the Borgawa, who saw these new developments as an unpardonable effrontery to their age-old perception of both the larger culture area and the specific state territories as sacred and inviolable. This point is extremely vital to a proper understanding of the systematic and sustained objection to the European imperialist partition and differential colonial rule. These reactions continued, however subtly, into the post-colonial era. Since the historical details are well known, it will suffice to highlight that the central theme in the history and culture of Borgu is unity in diversity of ethnicity, language, religion, politics and economy. This unique quality has informed the peoples’ own perception of themselves as Barba. It has also justified the identification of Borgu as a definable culture area.

  • 26 Anene, The International Boundaries of Nigeria, p. 198.

43It is remarkable that, in spite of the internal differentiation into several distinct ethnic and linguistic groups and sub-groups — of which the most dominant are the Baatonu and the Boko, who are the majority and the ruling elite respectively — the Borgawa view themselves as ‘one people’ and refer to Borgu as ‘our country’. They acknowledge a common patrimony despite the traditional compartmentalization into numerous, often competing, kingdoms of which there were three main power blocs. These blocs were centred in Bussa, Nikki and Illo. Anene’s observation is especially instructive, in spite of his overall emphasis on fission in his study of the culture area. He has acknowledged that ‘Borgu was, from its undefined ancient beginning, a distinct political area, the integrity of which the Borgawa [Baatonu or Boko ; Bussa, Nikki or Illo] were determined to defend with their blood’.26

  • 27 ibid.

44This extraordinary sense of collective allegiance to Borgu as the ‘patrie’ of all Borgawa has been demonstrated throughout their known history. There have been instances of internal threat to their territorial integrity when one or any combination of the constituent states has engaged in actions capable of disturbing this delicate balance. Instances of external threat to the safety and security of Borgu’s corporate identity occur more frequently. Anene also noted the Borgawa’s proud claim that ‘until the partition of their country by the Europeans they had never yielded to alien domination’.27 The Borgawa collectively fought and successfully warded off the invasions of Songhai under the Askias in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Habe or Hausa states in the 18th century, and the Fulani jihadists during the first half of the 19th century. It was probably the continued defence of their territory that prompted Kenneth Lupton to categorize the Borgawa’s political system as a ‘standing alliance’.

45Other historical evidence buttress the Borgawa’s argument for the identification of Borgu as a political region. One such indication is the clarity of the peoples’ notion about territory and boundary. However, as elsewhere in pre-colonial Africa and still manifest in most indigenous African societies, the Borgawa’s conception of boundary is not based on the inflexible lines of demarcation that Europeans later established to separate respective areas of territorial jurisdiction. The notion of boundary accepted by the Borgawa was one of mutual inclusion, not exclusion, whether between states within Borgu, or between Borgu and adjacent lands such as those of the Yoruba (Oyo and Sabe) to the south and south-east, the Nupe to the east, the Hausa to the north and the Somba to the west.

  • 28 Bagodo, Liens Ethniques, p. 67.

46Indeed, according to Obare Bagodo’s explanation, boundaries, as expressed in Baatonu (the language of the largest ethnic group in Borgu), are references to ‘zones of contact and convergence of interests’ ; points of meeting and interaction rather than those of separation ; ‘tem yina yeru’ rather than ‘tem bonu yeru’,28

47Politically, for example, Borgu has been variously described as some sort of confederation or, as we have already noted, ‘a standing alliance’. While each of these kingdoms – Bussa, Nikki, Illo, Wawa, Kaima – maintained its own political identity, the actual number of ‘states’ varied accordingly to the changing fortunes of the various power centres. Nevertheless, these kingdoms were interconnected by several factors such as : common foundations on identical strata of aboriginal cultures ; derivation of the ruling dynasties from the same culture-hero, Kisra ; exchange of gifts among the rulers, especially upon the ascension of each ; participation in one another’s traditional festivals such as the gani ; and the use of identical ritual and ceremonial instruments such as the kakaki or trumpets.

48Their concept of boundaries as points of contact and mutual interaction has enabled the Borgu to operate as an integrated region which is disposed to alliance formation with tested states and societies outside Borgu. The culturally accepted notion of a boundary by the Borgawa has resulted in a consolidation of the tradition of a symbiotic relationship between the distinct ethnic and linguistic groups and subgroups such as those of the Baatonu and the Boko. While the preservation of the integrity of Borgu remained the constant concern of all Borgawa, military alliances such as the one which the Borgu kingdoms forged in the past with the ancient Yoruba state of Oyo, to check the advance of the Fulani jihad, suggest that the Borgawa were prepared to permit the external boundary of their collective homeland to be permeable to an extent, if such a concession would enhance the conditions for the safety and security of the patrimony. Although the Eleduwe War of 1835, which was fought by the Borgawa and the Yoruba against the Fulani, brought defeat rather than victory to the allies and was particularly disastrous for the Borgawa states of Nikki and Wawa, whose rulers and valiant soldiers perished at the battle, the corporate existence of Borgu was preserved.

  • 29 This kind of protest migration took place in 1907 when Woru Yaru, the dethroned Sarkin Yashikira, (...)
  • 30 To date, there are two conflicting definitions or delimitation instruments for this sector of the (...)

49The flurry of activities, especially the mass movement of supporters of contesting princes from the Nigerian side (notably Yashikera and Aliyara) to Nikki, that resulted from the succession struggles in the colonial era, were constant reminders that the local people see the Anglo-French partition as a barrier.29 Other factors blurring the separation fonctions and effects of the boundary included a series of protest migrations that took place from time to time, when there were politico-administrative problems on either side of the border ; smuggling ; and the essentially indeterminate character of the border, arising from its controversial delimitation and the totally unsatisfactory demarcation of the segment of the Nigeria/Benin border through Borgu.30 Indeed, borderland farmers have little or no regard for the position of the boundary, as they clear land for farming on either side of the official demarcation.

50Borgu has, therefore, remained a distinct region in spite of the international boundary running through it. There is, of course, no doubt that differential colonial overrule of the French and the British has made an indelible impact in Borgu. There have been parallel socialization processes by which the obviously different languages and cultures of the two colonizing powers have been adopted as the official languages and cultures of successive independent states. However, these effects have been more deeply felt by the Western-educated elites on either side than the non-literate majority of the local populations, who have remained more attached to the indigenous culture and its traditions. The majority of the Borgawa view Borgu as an indivisible entity, as is evident in the continuity of relations and interactions of kinship groups such as the Wassangari, the traditional ruling elites, across the border. All these constitute reliable pointers to Borgu as one of Africa’s most prospective transfrontier regions.

Policy Reflections and Recommendations

51The foregoing facts affirm that the potential for transfrontier regionalism in post-colonial Africa is strong. Certain questions remain : Why has the actualization of transfrontier regionalism remained unattainable in Africa ? What are the obstacles ? What hopes exist for the actualisation of a Borgu region in the future ?

52These questions are as old as the arguments for the establishment of transfrontier regionalism itself. However, the centenary of the Anglo-French partition of Borgu, which also marked the completion of the problematic delimitation of the present-day Nigeria/Benin border, provides the perfect opportunity for renewed discussions to update the transborder cooperation policy promotion as a cornerstone of regional integration efforts in Africa. As the 21st century draws near, finding satisfactory answers to these essential policy questions becomes crucial.

53The entrenchment and glorification of the nation-state structure and the general rejection of the principles and practice of democratic governance are the greatest obstacles to the actualisation of transfrontier regionalism in Africa. The fact that Western-educated elites, who have provided the leadership at all levels for the new sovereign states in post-colonial Africa, have mainly operated along these lines has been a very hard obstacle to overcome. This has been the case in the hinterland as well as in the border areas of the new states.

  • 31 For a detailed case study, see A.I. Asiwaju, Formai education in Western Yorubaland, 1889-1960 : A (...)

54In the particular case of the new elites within the border areas, who must now be converted into active membership of ‘regional groups’, assimilation into contrastive European cultures has given rise to a mind-set which has in turn resulted in the familiar back-to-back, rather than the more desirable face-to-face, relationships across the borders. The elites on the different sides of most African border areas are also products of the same indigenous cultures and the effects of this assimilation on relationships have been especially dramatic in several of such cases.31 While their non-literate parents and relations cross the borders in order to maintain cherished kinship and other socio-cultural ties, or to fully exploit the business advantages of the border locations, educated elite among ‘partitioned Africans’ are hardly known to develop cross-border relationships as they do with their peers within the state, even when, as is often the case, such peers belong to other indigenous cultures.

  • 32 R. Strassoldo, Border studies : The state of the arts in Europe. In : Borderlands in Africa : A mu (...)

55There is a very interesting irony in the history of post-colonial Africa vis-à-vis the history of contemporary Europe : that it was precisely at the same time when Europeans embarked on a systematic conversion from a nationalist to a regionalist ideology that the state-nations of Africa emerged. Thus, while in Europe since 1945, the goal has been towards the achievement of ‘transnational and supranational integration’ and the defunctionalizing, ‘devaluating’ and ‘overcoming’ of ‘national boundaries’, in Africa and the wider world of former European colonies, the boundaries ‘traced by (erstwhile) European colonial powers’ became ‘utterly sacred and one of the main political concerns is to demarcate, sharpen, strengthen and harden them’.32

  • 33 Strassoldo, Border studies, p. 392.

56In Europe, finally, while one frequently hears and reads about popular criticisms of the nation-state as an obsolete mode of societal organization, of the need to ‘efface’ toward higher levels (European Union) and lower levels (local and regional communities)... and of borderlands communities as miniature exemplars of the new, United Europe,33 in Africa the contemporary nation-states remain firmly grounded on the doctrine and practice of territorial sovereignty. Regional integration projects are carried out using the model of classical international organizations. In Africa, international boundaries and borderlands are held and treated more as points of discontinuities than continuities, and as barriers rather than bridges between the nation-states or cornerstones for wider regional integration. Within the European Community, the emphasis is on decentralization of territorial administration and the decision-making process ; in post-colonial Africa, the trend is towards ever increasing centralization of control.

  • 34 Basil Davidson, quoted by Anene, The International Boundaries, p. 2.

57The ruling elite of post-colonial Africa continue to draw their inspiration from a pre-War Europe, which contemporary Europeans themselves are determined to forget. Unfortunately, they seem set to turn their back on their own ancestral pasts characterized, as has been aptly pointed out by Basil Davidson and demonstrated by the Borgu case study, by ‘a genius... for integration... by conquest... {and} also by an ever fruitful mingling and migration’ and an inherent impatience with exclusive boundaries.34

58The sharp contrast between the histories of Africa and Europe since 1945 goes beyond the question of the ideology of nationalism in the one and regionalism in the other. Post-War Europe represents a conversion not only from nationalist into regionalist political ideology, but also from militarism and totalitarianism into full-fledged democracy and total commitment to the defence and preservation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Contemporary Africa, however, has experienced progressive degeneration into an era of undemocratic governance, the popularization of military regimes, unbridled human rights abuses, massive official corruption, a total lack of transparency and accountability of the leadership in most of the states, and ever increasing and worsening political crises. These crises have turned Africa into the continent that has experienced the most civil and inter-state wars since the end of the Second World War.

59The difference between Africa and Europe must be viewed as a gap that needs to be bridged for the development of the nation-state in Africa. A future Africa of regions and peoples must be patterned on the model of the European Union, and firmly grounded on the active and systematic practice of transfrontier regionalism. Such regions should be built on the principles and practice of democratic governance, administrative decentralization and accountability, plus a total commitment to the respect for human rights and fundamental freedom. The deep resentments nursed by post-War Europeans of the old order coupled with their warm embrace of a new democratic system have given border communities, hitherto suppressed and down-trodden within Europe, the chance to organize themselves into progressive transfrontier territorial communities and authorities that have become the cornerstones for the realization of the European Community. Similar socio-political conditions must be created and nourished if Africa is to become like the new Europe.

  • 35 Strassoldo, Border studies, p. 392.

60While ‘the European experience in the field of overcoming state-nationalism and alleviating the problems of border peoples can be of some inspiration... elsewhere’, notably Africa, Raimondo Strassoldo, has expressed the hope that ‘trans-national unions in other continents will be grounded on other bases than the immense heaps of rubble and corpses we had in Europe’.35 He has also expressed the wish that European horrors would not be replicated elsewhere.

61Unfortunately, Strassoldo’s hopes have not been fulfilled in Africa. Although the details in Africa differ from those of Europe, the ‘horrors’ perpetrated as a result of malfunctions of Africa’s post-colonial states have not been less terrifying than those of pre-1945 Europe. Records of Africa’s ever worsening socio-political crises denote African equivalents of the ‘heaps of rubble and corpses’ of European history. Recall, for example, the genocides, mass killings and mass graves, as well as the wanton destruction of property and infrastructure that have accompanied the various cases of armed conflicts in Congo/Kinshasa, Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo/Brazzaville, Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Algeria ; and between Morocco and Somalia and their respective neighbours, Libya and Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mauritania, Nigeria and Cameroon, and Ethiopia and Eritrea. Apart from the man-made crises, there have also been instances of acts of God, such as the droughts and famines in the entire Sahelian zone, from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east in the mid-1970s and mid-1980s.

62Various African crises demonstrate the inherent ineffectiveness of the individual states acting independently of each other and the necessity of transborder cooperation and regional integration as more valuable strategies for the resolution of crises. It is quite instructive, for example, that the crises in the Great Lake Region have given rise to the innovative suggestion of converting the area into a platform for a new sub-regional organization. This initiative, when realized, should draw its main inspiration from such existing establishments as the Ouagadougou-based Inter-State Commission for the Campaign Against Drought in the Sahel and the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development based in Djibouti, which were both created in response to the environmental disaster which resulted from the Sahelian droughts and famines of the 1970s and 1980s.

  • 36 For a preceding publication, see A.I. Asiwaju, Fragmentation or integration : What future for Afri (...)

63There is no doubt that Africans still have a long way to go, judging from the gaps that must be bridged in order to attain the levels of development that obtain in Europe. The predictable future is one of a steady gravitation towards an ever-increasing appreciation of institutionalized transfrontier cooperation as a foundation for the realization of durable regional integration projects. The evidence for this is two-fold : the significant renewal of efforts towards the creation of new sub-regional organizations and a radical re-orientation of the existing institutions ; and then, the promotion of border-specific cooperation policy initiatives especially in the Maghreb, West, East and Southern Africa.36

64In the first category of new developments are such reorganizations as have led to the upgrading of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) into a supranational organization for the region, based on the adoption of the revised ECOWAS treaty in 1993. There is also the reorientation of the Southern Africa Development and Coordination Council (SADCC) of the apartheid era into a new post-apartheid Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Arab Maghrebian Union (AMU) rooted in the practice of transfrontier cooperation, especially the co-development of border regions between the member states of Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia.

65The series of initiatives among member-states of AMU which have been mentioned earlier are part of the second category of new developments towards transfrontier regionalism. Other pertinent illustrations include the highly dramatized, but not so well sustained, initiative by Nigeria, vis-à-vis her immediate neighbours, in the form of a series of bilateral workshops, the first being the resoundingly successful session with the Republic of Benin at Topo, Badagry in May 1988, in which territorial authorities and local communities from both the Nigerian and Beninoise sides of Borgu were actively involved.

66Finally, there is an on-going research project on the development of border regions in eastern and southern Africa initiated in 1992, by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development Africa Office in Nairobi, Kenya. This laudable project has featured two highly successful international workshops : one in Kariba, Zimbabwe, on the border with Zambia in August 1995 ; and the other in Mutare, also in Zimbabwe, on the border with Mozambique. Among the credits which this project can claim is a range of concrete developments in cross-border cooperative or linkage initiatives including the launching, in 1996, of a progressive local periodical, Bridging the Borders : Kariba-Siavonga Newsletter, which has been very well received on both sides of the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. Also on the Kariba-Siavonga border sector, a bilateral steering committee has been established to accelerate the process for a general reorientation of a prevailing back-to-back relationship, to a more desirable face-to-face structure of relationship between the local elite and the local authorities on both sides of the border.

Policy Recommendations

67There is an obvious need for a radical re-orientation of the mindset of the post-colonial African ‘inheritance elite’ for sustainment of the modest developments mentioned in this paper and to ensure their acceleration and spread. This calls for three inter-related recommendations :

  • An urgent action plan on the part of policy makers in Africa
  • A rededication of support on the part of African and Africanist research communities in and outside Africa
  • Appropriate assistance by donor communities, especially Friends of Africa in the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area.

68First, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) must be specially targeted with regards to making relevant policy decisions. Having so wisely resolved to legitimize the inherited colonial boundaries in the interest of continental peace and stability through its 1963 Charter and 1964 Cairo Declaration, the OAU must not permit itself to go into the 21st century without taking the next logical step, which is long overdue. They must ensure the conversion of the inherited borders from their prevailing official postures as barriers into new dispositions as bridges between the member-states. In doing so, the OAU stands to profit from the experience of Europe, erstwhile colonizer of Africa, where border problems similar to those in post-colonial Africa are being tackled with noticeable success. Especially recommended is the adoption of instruments which can be applied throughout the continent, modelled along the lines of the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Cooperation between Territorial Authorities and Communities, which took effect in 1984 and has since been ratified and adopted by an ever-increasing number of European states including those within the recently decolonized sub-regions of Central and Eastern Europe, such as Poland. The OAU, possibly through the African Development Bank, should create an African Regional Development Fund along the lines of the ERDF and for purposes similar to the INTERREG programme in the European Community.

69Second, African and Africanist researchers must shift emphasis from the traditional standpoint and, therefore, predominantly conflictual perspective, and refocus on projects that emphasize the peace, cooperative and regional integration potentials of African boundaries. African research institutions outside the continent, such as the imaginative border-focused

70Program on International Cooperation in Africa (PICA), inaugurated in 1989 at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America, must collaborate actively with parallel institutions within Africa such as the Centre for African Regional and Border Studies proposed for establishment at the University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, intended to focus permanently on boundaries in regional integration in Africa.

71The third and final policy recommendation has to do with the role the wider international community — especially the European Economic Community (now European Union) which comprises the erstwhile imperial and colonial powers who partitioned Africa at the turn of the last century — is expected to play. Borgu serves as a parallel example to some post-war European nations, not only of the wrongs done and the debts owed to formally colonized African countries, but also their compelling moral duty to make necessary amends through appropriate programmes of assistance. It is in the light of this that the following specific recommendations are made :

  • Radical adjustment of the current practice by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank of supporting only nationally based projects. This lending policy, which has tended to accord attention to the nation-state territorial structure, must be blended with increased support for international regional development initiatives
  • Active support by developed countries, especially those of the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area, for the repatriation of ill-gotten wealth invested by corrupt African leaders and government officials in their economies, especially the money markets and real estate sectors. This will encourage transparency in African leadership, which is a major component of democratic governance and a requirement for the realization of transfrontier regionalism in Africa
  • The extension to Africa of the same kind of funding support which the European Union generally, and the European Economic Commission in particular, has extended to Eastern and Central Europe vis-à-vis transfrontier regional development programmes
  • The twinning of exemplar ‘Euregios’ (for example the Regio Basiliensi) with prospective African transfrontier regions such as Borgu.
  • 37 The three colonial powers showed interest in Borgu : Germany conceded the area to France as a resu (...)

72I conclude this document appealing to the governments and peoples of Britain, France and Germany,37 European nation-states who were wholly or partially responsible for the arbitrary partitioning of Borgu, to make such positive contributions to its evolution as an exemplar ‘Afregio’ based on the model of the ‘Euregios’, which since the 1950s, have been painstakingly nurtured across the borders of the former European metropolitan states, especially those of France and Germany, the emerging ‘Framany’ of the European Union.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

73This document has resulted from a research project : Opportunities for International Regionalism in Africa : The example of vivisected culture areas with special preference to partitioned Borgu, sponsored by a grant from IFRA (Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique).

74The grant made possible a week of research in each of the following institutions : University of Edinburgh (The Europa Institute and the International Social Sciences Institute) in July 1998 ; University of Ilorin, and the Research and Documentation Centre of the National Boundary Commission Secretariat in Abuja in September 1998.

75The author wishes to express his special appreciation to the Director of IFRA, Dr. Yann Lebeau, for his encouragement and support his research.

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Notes

1 G. Vedovato, Transfrontier Cooperation and the Europe of Tomorrow, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1995, p. 2. Vedovato’s article is enriched by two other publications : Council of Europe, Examples of Good Practice of Transfrontier Cooperation Concerning Members of Ethnic Groups Residing on Territory of Several States, 1995 ; and Ricq, Handbook on Transfrontier Cooperation for Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1996.

2 Vedovato, p. 3.

3 For sample essays on North and Latin America, see L. Lambi, The Venezuela/Columbia borderlands : A regional and historical perspective, Journal of Borderland Studies (hereafter JBS) 4 (1, 1989) : 1-38 ; P. Ganster, The Andean border integration. JBS 5 (1. 1990) : 95-100 ; and Niles Hansen, European transboundary cooperation and its relevance to the United States-Mexico border. Journal of the American Institute of Planners 49 (3. 1983) : 336-343. For a reference to transfrontier regionalism in Asia, see W. Gooneratne and E. Mosselman. Planning across the borders : Border regions in Eastern and Southern Africa, especially the sub-section titled, Lessons from Asian and European experience. Regional Development Dialogue 17 (2, 1996) : 136-155, especially pp. 148-149.

4 Naine given to the Borgu by their Hausa neighbours.

5 The Anglo-French partition of Borgu, 1989 : Borgu is located along the border of Western Nigeria and Benin Republic which have socio-cultural, historical and economic links.

6 For Asiwaju’s earlier writings on the subject of African potentials for transfrontier regionalism, see A.I. Asiwaju, Artificial Boundaries, University of Lagos Press, Lagos, 1984 ; A.I. Asiwaju, ed.. Partitioned Africans : Ethnic relations across Africa’s international boundaries, 1884-1984, Christopher Hurst, London, 1985 ; and A.I. Asiwaju, Borders and borderlands as linchpins for regional integration in Africa : Lessons of the European experience, Africa Development, CODESRIA, Dakar, 17 (2, 1992) : 345-363.

7 Vedovato, Frontier Cooperation, p. 3. Older historical accounts are contained in Victor von Malchus. The Cooperation of European Frontier Regions : States of the question and recent developments, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1975 ; R. Strassoldo, Frontier Regions : An analytical study, Council of Europe Strasbourg, 1973 and S. Tagil, The question of border regions in Western Europe ; An historical background. In : Frontier Regions in Western Europe. Special issue of European politics 5 (4)1986. M. Anderson, ed., (1982).

8 See Association of European Border Regions (AERB) : European Charter on Frontier and Transborder Regions, Aims and Tasks of the Association of European Border Regions (Bonn).

9 H.J. Briner, Regional planning and transfrontier cooperation : The Regio Basiliensi. In : Across Boundaries. Transborder interaction in comparative perspective. O.J. Martinez, ed. Western Texas Press, El Paso.

10 R. Strassoldo, Perspective on frontiers. The case of Alpe Adria. In : The Frontiers of Europe. M. Anderson and E. Borts, eds., Frances Pinters, London, 1998, pp. 75-90.

11 Vedovato, pp. 9-13.

12 See in particular. A.I. Asiwaju, Borderlands in Africa : A comparative research perspective with particular reference to Western Europe. In : African Boundaries : Barriers, conduits and opportunities. Paul Nugent and A.I. Asiwaju, eds.. Frances Pinter, London, 1996.

13 P. Sahlin. Boundaries : The making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees University of California Press, Berkley, 1989.

14 A.I. Asiwaju. Western Yorubaland under European Rule, 1889-1945. A comparative analvsis of French and British colonialism. Longman, London, 1976 : and W.F.S. Miles. Hausaland Divided : Colonialism and independence in Nigeria and Niger. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1995.

15 M. Foucher, The geopolitics of European frontiers. In : The Frontiers of Europe, M. Anderson, M. and E. Bort, eds, Frances Pinter, London, 1998, p. 235.

16 A.I. Asiwaju, Partitioned Africans.

17 For detailed references, see : Janet MacGaffee et al., The Real Economy of Zaire : The contributions of smuggling and other unofficial activities to national wealth, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1991 ; C. Ackello-Ogutu and P.N. Echessah, Unrecorded Cross-border Trade between Tanzania and Her Neighbours : Implications for Food Security (Nairobi : USAID Regional Economic Development Support Office –Draft Report), 1997 ; and J. Egg and J. Igue Market-driven Integration in the Eastern Sub-region : Nigeria’s impact on its immediate neighbours. Club du Sahel/OECD, Paris, 1993.

18 Egg and Igue, Market-driven Integration.

19 ibid.

20 See Asiwaju, 1985 ; and 1995 ; and S. Adotevi, Cultural dimensions of economic and political integration in Africa. In : Regional Integration and Cooperation in West Africa. R. Laverge, ed., Africa World Press, Trenton, New Jersey and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa. 1997.

21 The bilateral series of consultative workshops between Nigeria and each of its neighbours has been documented in the published proceedings. See A.I. Asiwaju and B.M. Barkindo, eds. The Nigeria-Niger Transborder Cooperation. Malthouse Press, Lagos : 1993 ; A.I. Asiwaju and O.J. Igue, eds. The Nigeria-Benin Transborder Cooperation, University of Lagos Press, Lagos. 1994 : A.I. Asiwaju. B.M. Barkindo and R.E. Mabale, eds. The Nigeria-Equatorial Guinea Transborder Cooperation, National Boundary Commission, Lagos. 1996.

22 For the UNCRD initiative for Eastern and Southern Africa, see the special issue of Regional Development Dialogue 17 (2, 1996), especially the subsection titled ‘Regional Development beyond Borders’, pp. 136-215 ; and A.I. Asiwaju and M. de Leeuw, eds Border Region Development in Africa : Focus on the Eastern and Southern sub-regions (United Nations Centre for Regional Development Research, Nagoya, Japan).

23 J.C. Anene, The International Boundaries of Nigeria : The framework of an emergent African nation, Longman, London, 1970, p. 194.

24 This estimate is owed, at least in part, to O. Bagodo, Liens ethniques et systèmes de chefferie traditionelle comme élément de coopération transfrontalière : Exemple des Bariba, In : The Nigeria and Benin Transborder Cooperation, Asiwaju and Igue, eds, 1994, p. 63.

25 For a recent study of the Nigerian Borgu, see O.D. Akinwunmi. The Nigerian Borgu. 1898-1989 : A history of inter-group relations. Ph.D. thesis, Department of History. University of llorin, Ilorin, Nigeria, 1995 ; Older relevant studies include : M. Crowder. Revolt in Bussa : A study of British ‘native ‘ administration in Nigerian Borgu, 1902-1934. Faber and Faber, London. 1974 : M.H. Stewart. The Borgu People of Nigeria and Benin : The disruptive effects of partition on (raditional political and economic relations. Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria (hereafter JHSN) 12 (3-4, 1984) : and K. Lupton. The partitioning of Borgu in 1898 and the French Enclaves in Nigeria, JHSN, 12 (3-4, 1984).

26 Anene, The International Boundaries of Nigeria, p. 198.

27 ibid.

28 Bagodo, Liens Ethniques, p. 67.

29 This kind of protest migration took place in 1907 when Woru Yaru, the dethroned Sarkin Yashikira, migrated with virtually the entire population of Yashikira to Nikki where he eventually succeeded the throne as the Sina Boko in 1917. Similar migrations took place from Kenu, Ilesha and Aliyara (Babana) to protest against British colonial arrangements which forced chiefdoms formerly under Nikki to be subjected to new territorial authorities, especially that of Kaima.

30 To date, there are two conflicting definitions or delimitation instruments for this sector of the boundary : the Anglo-French Agreement of 1906, generally adjudged impossible to implement as a viable tool for the actual demarcation ; and the modification reached by 1960 as a result of two preceding years of meetings of the surveyors-general of Nigeria and Dahomey, authorized by the two central governments. The demarcation of this sector of the boundary, based on the 1960 description, was initially contested by Dahomey and has remained controversial. See MacEwen, The establishment of the Nigeria/Benin boundary.

31 For a detailed case study, see A.I. Asiwaju, Formai education in Western Yorubaland, 1889-1960 : A comparison of the French and British colonial systems, Comparative Education Review 19 (3, 1975) : 434-450. Also see W.F.S. Miles. In : Hausaland Divided, pp. 227-247.

32 R. Strassoldo, Border studies : The state of the arts in Europe. In : Borderlands in Africa : A multidisciplinary and comparative focus on Nigeria and West Africa. A.I. Asiwaju and P.O. Adeniyi, eds, University of Lagos Press, Lagos, 1989, p. 392. For a more systematic comparison of Africa and Europe, see A.I. Asiwaju, Public policy for overcoming marginalisation : Borderlands in Africa, North America and Western Europe. In : Merging of Insecurity : Minorities and international security. Sam Nolutshungu, ed. Rochester University Press, New York, 1996.

33 Strassoldo, Border studies, p. 392.

34 Basil Davidson, quoted by Anene, The International Boundaries, p. 2.

35 Strassoldo, Border studies, p. 392.

36 For a preceding publication, see A.I. Asiwaju, Fragmentation or integration : What future for African boundaries ? Paper presented at the International Colloquium on Nigeria and the Future of Africa : Setting the Agenda for the 21st Century, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, 1998.

37 The three colonial powers showed interest in Borgu : Germany conceded the area to France as a result of the bilateral convention of 23 July 1897, whereby France, m return, conceded Kirikiri, Bafilo and the so-called ‘Mono triangle’ to German Togo. The Anglo-French Convention of 14 June 1898 settled the conflicting interest through a bilateral partition.

© IFRA-Nigeria, 1999

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