Sweden supports Africa´s borderland regions

Credit: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

 Sweden and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a SEK 5,000,000 agreement to promote socio-economic development and peacebuilding in Africa’s borderland regions in the Liptako-Gourma in West Africa, and the Karamoja Cluster in East Africa.

The programme will be implemented in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Life and Peace Institute (LPI).

The signing ceremony was held at the Embassy of Sweden in Addis Ababa with representation by Ulla Andrén, Head of Regional Development Cooperation for Sweden and Stan Nkwain, Director a.i. of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa.

Photo: Damian Patkowski/Unsplash

With an estimated 270 million inhabitants, borderlands in Africa are a unique source of ingenuity, untapped opportunity and great resilience. In many of these communities however, insecurity and poverty, made worse by climate change emergencies, conflict and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, remain a critical impediment to socio-economic progress. This agreement confirms the firm conviction of Sweden, UNDP and their implementing partners that improved circumstances could help unlock the development potential and local innovation capabilities of Africa’s borderland communities and strengthen their progress towards achieving the SDGs and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Borderlands and security

Ulla Andrén, Head of Regional Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Addis Ababa signed the agreement on behalf of Sweden and stated, “Many borderland regions experience challenging security issues, and we need to support initiatives that promote all the positive aspects of the dynamic borderland areas in the joint strive for a peaceful and secure Africa.”

Stan Nkwain, signed the agreement on behalf of UNDP and stated: “I hope that this initiative can be a catalyst to bring more attention and resources to Africa’s borderlands.”

The one-year partnership, which will be implemented by UNDP’s Regional Programme for Africa, will embrace the opportunities in Africa’s borderlands with a particular focus on engaging and empowering women and youth.

Three areas

There are three areas of focus for the partnership, namely:

  • improving livelihoods for borderland communities in the Liptako-Gourma region through promoting innovation on informal cross-border trade and access to markets in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso;
  • strengthening the engagement and capacity of borderland civil society organizations in East Africa and the Horn of Africa; and
  • promoting sustainable peace and development in the Karamoja region of Uganda and Kenya, while supporting the Governments of Kenya and Uganda in the development a cross-border programme.