Topic 5: Who are the losers?

(c) Laura Lambert

Today’s demarcation of African states is the legacy of colonialism. The lines drawn based on European economic and power interests intersect the migration areas of nomadic and pastoralist populations and ethnic kinships. Militarized enforcement of borders threatens local economies and trade routes. Seasonal migration becomes “international” migration. In many cases, European border management projects lead to the cutting of traditional migration routes, because intra-African migration is a assumed to be nothing but a first step on the road to Europe.

The regional communities of states in East and West Africa, which were founded on the model of the EU, have included the free movement of labour and goods in their programme and want to introduce common passports. Integration instead of regulation holds development potential for the entire continent. On the one hand, the EU finances the African Union; on the other hand, it destroys integration processes by militarizing inner-African borders. While it promotes joint military and police units (especially the “G5 Sahel“) and trains them, crosssing borders legally is increasingly difficult, expensive, and dangerous for civilians. The EU’s approach is: Schengen for the EU, border controls for Africa. Many areas, especially in the Sahara, have become areas under military siege in the years since 2015.

This page shows that open borders for Europeans go hand in hand with militarized border controls in Africa. However, expansion and omnipresence of surveillance techniques affect all.

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