Addis Ababa, 7 June 2022 (TDI): The African Union celebrates African Border Day on 7 June 2022. African Border day came about after African states decided to respect the intangibility of borders. It has a former expression as “conforming to the principles of uti possidetis juris and the respect for the intangibility of African borders”. This year’s African Border Day is celebrated under the theme: Challenges of Cross-Border Cooperation and Management of Shared Resources.

Currently, two-thirds of the borders in sub-Saharan Africa still have no clear delimitation. Such a situation sometimes facilitates conflict. There are many that account for the present state of inter-state African borders. For instance, some of these include faulty colonial-era documents which had deviations or lacked precision. Therefore, the AU launched the first African Union Border Programme (AUBP) in 2007 to resolve the conflicts in resource-rich border areas. Accordingly, AUBP aims to enhance and institutionalize cross-border cooperation. Furthermore, AUBP can support the development of border areas and address the socio-economic needs of border communities.

The Significance and Future of AUBP

The AUBP receives guidance from the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention). The Niamey Convention was adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in 2014. Moreover, the AU assists its member states in the delimitation, demarcation, and reaffirmation of their inter-state boundaries. AU works on its aim by increasing border markings and signage; mapping out border areas, spreading awareness to local border populations; reinvigorating border commissions, and signing border Treaties.

Secondly, there is a need for efforts to work together with important regional economic communities (RECs) to offer border governance and promote cross–border cooperation within and among their members.

Lastly, there is a need to strengthen the capacities of border stakeholders in the aspect of border governance. Cross-border cooperation builds on kinship, culture, heritage, and geographical proximity to enable local stakeholders to transform border areas.

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