Le rôle essentiel des villes dans la coopération transfrontalière, levier de l’intégration africaine

Par Yvan Pasteur, Chef de la Division Afrique de l’Ouest à la Direction du développement et de la coopération suisse

Depuis longtemps, l’Afrique de l’Ouest est considérée comme une région en voie d’intégration. Des études déjà anciennes ont désigné l’espace SKBo, réunissant les régions de Sikasso (Mali), Korhogo (Côte d’Ivoire) et Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), comme un exemple de dynamisme et de coopération transfrontalières [i]. Pour autant, dans la zone SKBo comme dans d’autres, les potentiels n’ont encore débouché concrètement que sur un petit nombre de projets transfrontaliers. Il faut donc s’interroger sur les causes de cette progression trop lente. Continue reading

From aid to Global Public Investment: an evolution in international co-operation


By Jonathan Glennie, independent writer and researcher, and Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist on Development Finance at UNDP

This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets
Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion

arrows-changeIt is time to bring aid to an end.

Gradually, maybe, as a few “pockets of poverty” still persist. But this symbol of global collective action that has lasted seven decades will now, inevitably and as planned, be ended.

That is the common view of almost everyone. Whether you are a member of the general public in a “donor” country, still feeling the effects of an economic downturn, or a citizen of a “recipient” country whose economy feels like it is taking off for the first time in living memory. Whether you believe the aid era has been an unqualified failure and should be ended as soon as possible, or that aid has actually been quite successful in promoting development but has now largely “done its job” and can be rolled back as countries reach “middle income” status. Whether you think the hole left behind by aid can be filled by fairer tax collection or by better-targeted private sector finance, both of which are experiencing growth of historic proportions. Even (perhaps especially) if you are part of the aid industry and are well-practised at repeating the mantra that “our job is to do ourselves out of a job”.

Whatever side of the political spectrum you sit on, you are unlikely to disagree with the notion that aid should be decreased as recipient countries’ incomes rise, bringing to an end an experiment intended to kick-start growth in sluggish contexts, but not to last in perpetuity. With only 34 so-called low-income countries left, the only question left to be discussed is how to manage a good “exit strategy”.

Aid is temporary. Success is when aid is no longer necessary.

That’s what we thought, too. That’s what we were taught. But it’s wrong.

Continue reading

Upgrading International Development Co-operation


By Alicia BarcenaStefano Manservisi and Mario Pezzini

Dev-in-Trans-Barcena-Manservisi-PezziniIn an era when the benefits of multilateralism are being questioned, income inequality is growing, and innovation and technology are transforming how people learn and work, the world needs a more equitable approach to globalization. Can Latin America and the Caribbean offer a way forward?

PARIS – These are hard times for international cooperation. With rising protectionism, burgeoning trade disputes, and a troubling lack of concern for shared interests like climate change, the world seems to be turning its back on multilateralism.

And yet cooperation remains one of our best hopes for addressing humanity’s most complex development-related challenges. Just as the Marshall Plan rebuilt a war-ravaged Europe and the Millennium Development Goals lifted some 471 million people out of extreme poverty, the international development agenda can still deliver results thanks to the combined potential of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris climate agreement.
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Les frontières et les réseaux oubliés du développement

Par Laurent Bossard, Directeur, Secrétariat du Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CSAO/OCDE)

cross-border-cooperation-large-freLa publication CSAO/OCDE « Coopération transfrontalière et réseaux de gouvernance en Afrique de l’Ouest », aborde le sujet – crucial mais trop méconnu – de la coopération transfrontalière, par le biais d’une approche encore peu utilisée en Afrique de l’Ouest et dans le monde du développement : l’analyse des réseaux sociaux. Cette double originalité fait de la lecture de cet ouvrage une expérience pleine d’enseignements.

Plus de 46 % des villes et la moitié de la population urbaine ouest-africaines se trouvent à moins de 100 km d’une frontière. Ces espaces frontaliers couvrent la totalité des territoires du Bénin, de la Gambie, de la Guinée-Bissau et du Togo; les deux tiers de ceux de la Guinée, de la Sierra Leone et du Sénégal; plus de la moitié de la superficie du Burkina Faso et du Ghana. Continue reading

How can social network analysis help tackle West Africa’s challenges?

By Matthew Stephenson, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD)

Social network analysis (SNA) is a powerful tool that helps understand interactions amongst individuals, groups or institutions (Ward, Stovel and Sacks 2011)[i]. It does so by considering the actors in a network (nodes) and the relationship between those actors (links). By looking at these relationships, SNA can be used to visualise which actors are more central to the interactions, which are at the core of the network, on the periphery, or act as a bridge to another network.

Why is SNA relevant for West Africa and the Sahel?  The challenges these countries share are of a regional, national and local nature, often transcending national boundaries. Actors interact both across countries and within regions in the same country, whether on issues of food security, physical security, trade or migration. These regional and national relationships are therefore ripe for SNA modelling. SNA’s graphical and spatial dimension can bring clarity to complex relationships and interactions between actors in West Africa.

Example of social network analysis: Centrality of actors in the Gaya-Malanville-Kamba trade network

(This figure maps the business relations between traders located in Niger, Benin and Nigeria)[ii]

Example of social network analysis: centrality of actors in the Gaya-Malanville-Kamba trade network


To offer other specific applications, SNA could be used to map agricultural flows in the region. Identifying which markets act as nodes, and the links between producers, distributors and consumers, provides critical information regarding infrastructure, the direction of trade or food security. Another, very different application might be to improve donor strategies and national policies in a region with multiple and sometimes overlapping developmental efforts.

SNA could also help understand the relationship between policy actors and the dynamics of policy adoption or policy change. In this case the nodes could be seen as policymakers across different countries and organisations in the region. The links could be the effect of one actor’s influence on the policy choice of another actor on a specific issue. SNA’s strength is that it can be used to map out both formal and informal policy relationships, whereas other methodologies are generally more focused on formal institutional relationships. This information could thus help to better identify where structural changes could facilitate policy exchange.

Such information is also critical when it comes to enabling cross-border co-operation. One needs to understand how cross-border policy networks work to understand how cross-border co-operation and regional integration can actually take place in practice. That is, how do policy networks operate in the region? Who are the nodes, links or bridges? The de facto social relationships may be different from the de jure formal, institutional relationships on paper. Furthermore, what happens when there are conflicts in policy position between different actors, or between the social reality and the formal institutional reality? These are the kinds of questions that need to be addressed to tackle challenges in the West Africa and Sahel region.

The OECD Sahel and West Africa Club is using applied social network analysis and data visualisation to help map and analyse the major challenges and opportunities of cross-border co-operation in West Africa. This mapping study will look at ten indicators including the proximity between population centres, access to urban centres and border markets, production centres, linguistic areas and the existence of cross-border co-operation mechanisms.

The early findings of this study will be discussed during the SWAC Forum at Expo Milano in October where researchers, experts and local actors will have the opportunity to learn about and exchange innovative approaches, such as SNA, to address complex development issues. We invite you to join the discussion and share with us your experiences with these kinds of analyses and approaches.


[i] Ward, Michael and Stovel, Katherine and Sacks, Audrey E., Network Analysis and Political Science (June 2011). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 14, pp. 245-264, 2011. Available at SSRN:http://ssrn.com/abstract=1839119 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.12.040907.115949

[ii] Walther, O. (2015), “Social Network Analysis and Informal Trade”, Department of Border Region Studies Working Paper, No. 01/15, University of Southern Denmark, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2593021.