This publication seeks to examine the concrete security challenges resulting from the cross-border exchanges between Benin and Nigeria. This border has received increased attention due to fears of a spread of Boko Haram activities towards the neighbouring countries as well as regionally operating transnational organized crime networks that are often associated with terrorist activities.
Taking into account the cultural and geographic landscape of this border region, which represents a key transport route in the ECOWAS context, the nature of cross-border activities will be presented and their impact on security will be assessed. This paper argues that a more holistic approach is needed when designing border and security policies. It shows that cross-border movements and exchanges between the two countries are manifold but mainly peaceful in nature as well as economically important for the borderland communities. More efficient border management as well as bilateral infrastructure development should be at the heart of the efforts to make the border region between Nigeria and Benin an economically viable and safer environment.
This publication aims to stimulate the debate on the concept of human security. This is an alternative approach to a state-centered security concept that is still widely represented in sub-Saharan Africa today.