Open" borders: Between national and neo-colonial interests

In the future, the new border posts are supposed to lead to many advantages for African states, for example more transnational trade, increased tax revenues, more national security, but also strengthened regional cooperation between neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, the current development of the supposedly “open” borders must be viewed critically – especially with regard to neocolonial interests. The new border infrastructures, which cost billions, were largely co-financed by international donors from Europe, Asia and America. On the one hand, their economies benefit from better access to the continent’s raw materials and resources. On the other hand, Africa becomes even more of a sales market for external products, which in turn undermines the local economy. In parallel, forms of local border trade are criminalised as “smuggling”.

"Most of our leaders in Africa have now realised that borders are like prisons."

Peter S.
Customs officer at the Uganda-Kenya border, 2018

"... the Partition of Africa, far from being a closed matter, is an ongoing process the end of which is not in sight."

A.I. Asiwaju
1985: "Particioned Africans"