African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE)


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ABORNE stands for empirical research that explores borderlands and cross-border phenomena in Africa. Its work is aimed at advancing theoretical academic debate as well as providing insights to inform policy. In a world where real life issues increasingly take on a transnational character which extends across territorial borders, research and policy decisions concerning Africa are often still stuck in national categories. Yet it is increasingly clear that this approach makes it impossible to effectively deal with some of the major challenges faced by African societies and their international partners in development co-operation: International migration, conflict and displacement, global pandemics like HIV/AIDS, regional economic integration and environmental hazards – to take only the most pressing examples – cannot be adequately understood or dealt with on a national level alone. ABORNE addresses these knowledge and policy gaps by bringing together specialists engaged in field research on critical cross-border issues in various parts of Africa, creating a forum for cutting edge research on crossborder phenomena at the regional as well as the continental level.

Borderland are social spheres in which the limits of the national model become tangible, and a research perspective no longer contained within national boundaries can be developed and put to the test. ABORNE brings together established scholars with an international reputation in the field and doctoral students whose data is fresh from the field and whose analysis is on the cutting edge of transdisciplinary social sciences. Through researcher exchange, workshops, PhD seminars and joint publications, the network will develop a common theoretical perspective on African borderlands and communicate it to scholars, policy makers and students. It will thus contribute to an improved understanding of states and their borderlands in general and inform important policy decisions on the European level.


Five years, from 1 April 2009 to 30 September 2014.

The kick-off meeting of ABORNE was held in Strasbourg, on 6-7 April 2009.

External website

For more information, please consult the ABORNE website: