The role played by political borders in Africa (predominantly inherited from the colonial period) has merited some critical reflections by some authors, both in terms of their role in the construction of the new states and in terms of their impact and consequences in the lives of the populations of the cross-border regions. In As fronteiras em África: contributo para uma reflexão crítica we have two texts, by Daniel Bach and Emmanuel Grégoire, from which short extracts are presented. First, however, a necessarily succinct exposition of their respective theses: For Daniel Bach, Regionalisation tends to be done not by dismantling the barriers that constitute borders, but by taking advantage of the business opportunities originated by these very borders. A second thesis of Bach is that the Structural Adjustment Programmes, by reducing fiscal or customs differences between states, tend to transfer to the external borders of the continent those same business opportunities or the search for them…) and thus accelerate the criminalisation of flows. A first question arises here: the nature of this “regionalisation” of which Daniel Bach speaks, and the text of this author which we quoted above is as follows: “Transstate flows and circuits exercise functions of social regulation and accumulation which are vital for populations faced with the disintegration of official circuits and the regression of the territorial framework of the state”. As for Grégoire, the text offered for our reflection here is taken from a historical and anthropological account of a phenomenon which at first sight is predominantly economic and has the suggestive title: “The Smuggling Paths “Far from being an obstacle to trade, the border which has separated the Hausa country for over twenty years is, on the contrary, a stimulus… On an economic level, its dynamic effects outweigh the negative effects…”.
Statter, Guilherme da Fonseca. 1996. “As fronteiras em África: contributo para uma reflexão crítica”. Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão – CEsA Brief papers nº 1-1996.