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The (in)formality of mobility in the ECOWAS region: The paradoxes of free movement

Zanker, Dr. Franzisca / Dr Kwaku Arhin-Sam / Amanda Bisong / Mounkaila Harouna / Leonie Jegen (2022): „The (in)formality of mobility in the ECOWAS region: The paradoxes of free movement“, in: South African Journal of International Affairs , 29 (2), pp. 187-205..
peer reviewed
The free movement protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have never been fully implemented, yet within the region people have continued to move relatively freely. At the same time, the original aim to improve mobility appears to be changing to one of control over mobility. Drawing on fieldwork data as well as a collaborative, deliberative process of uncovering what free movement means in conversations with a group of West African scholars and activists, this article seeks to better understand free movement in the region, despite all its paradoxes. It shows how formal free movement is undermined by several regional and national impediments, including weak ECOWAS institutions, divergent national interests among individual member states and infrastructural challenges like accessing ID cards, as well as external influence from the EU. These however work in convergence with a practice of everyday mobility within socio-political spaces that cross borders.
Date of publication:
Forschungsbereich: Patterns of (Forced) Migration
Language: English
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