Early on in this blog, I noted some cross-border initiatives on-going in Africa. I am pleased to report that the African Union's Border Programme has taken several steps forward. Indeed, as I type there is a seminar taking place in Djibouti where a team of experts are finalising the Action Plan for the Border Programme.
The Programme is particularly interesting, as it combines several elements. In addition to the aim of encouraging the classic "INTERREG"-style programmes and projects, it also aims to build exchanges of experiences, not only across Africa, but also with other continents. Last but not least, it aims to deal with the continuing issue of delimitation and demarcation of African borders. A poisoned chalice left by the colonial powers, many African borders are poorly defined, uncertain and most are not marked out on the ground.
This is going to provide a series of challenges, not least in co-ordinating the different elements. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see such ambition. The scale of borders in Africa is astonishing: the number of borders which exceed 1,000km (some even exceed 2,000km) is far greater than the figures for Europe. Ambition is a requirement - as is optimism.
The Programme is certainly needed (as is the funding!) Good luck to them.