Call for papers – Governing (African) borders, security and migration: challenges and opportunities


Date: Monday 14 October – Tuesday 15 October 2024

Venue: Alisa Hotel, 21 Dr. Issert Road, North Ridge, Accra, Ghana

Scientific coordinators: Amanda Coffie (Uni. of Ghana, LECIAD), Frederick Boamah (Univ of Ghana, LECIAD), Andrew Geddes (MPC, EUI), Stephanie Hofmann (GGP, EUI)

The conference is jointly convened by the European University Institute’s Migration Policy Centre (MPC) and Global Governance Programme (GGP) and the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), University of Ghana.

We invite papers for an interdisciplinary workshop that will address the meanings and effects of legal, political, economic, social and cultural borders in African and international politics. It is well-known that legal borders on the African continent are colonial legacies and possess a high level of uncertainty with, for example, only a third of legal borders in sub-Saharan Africa being clearly demarcated. But not all borders manifest themselves the same way. Depending, on the category of  border, location and actor we focus on, they are either targets of contestation or of solidification. And their meanings have changed over time. 

The African Union has identified ill-defined borders and potential sources of conflict (linked to e.g. natural resources) as a key challenge. A perception of the porousness of African borders and of the scope for large-scale migration from Africa to Europe has underpinned major interventions by the European Union and its member states that have led them to ‘externalise’ their migration policies to African countries that aim to reinforce borders and border security. But the EU is not the only actor that is trying to shape politics on the African continent as the United States of America, Russia and China are also intervening on the bilateral and regional levels. This has clear implications for migration and mobility as well as for human rights and the protection of people displaced by conflict and persecution. These top-down interventions may neglect or even confound the long-established networks based on trade or pastoral activities that operate across borders and can be engines of economic growth and creativity. Borders thus play a central role in the production of two key and interlinked issues in African and global politics: (in)security and human migration. The nexus between (in)security and migration is connected to the presence of borders that delineate and demarcate between territories and peoples while also playing a powerful role in structuring social and political relations in ways that can play out across various levels from the international to the more micro-processes associated with everyday practices at border regions.

We invite papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives that interrogate the social, economic, political,  cultural and historical meaning given to borders; the ways in which borders both shape and are shaped by the nexus between (in)security and human migration; and, the ways in which borders and border politics are integrated as concerns at various levels across political systems from the local to the international in African countries. This could potentially include papers that focus on

  • Case studies on African border regions addressing the security-migration nexus
  • The impact of (in)security and human migration on challenges such as the climate crisis
  • Gendered perspectives on borders, security, and migration
  • The role of regional and international dynamics, including the influence of Africa’s regional and sub-regional organizations (e.g., African Union, ECOWAS) and external organisations (e.g., United Nations, EU ) on the security-migration nexus
  • Border securitization impact on economic opportunities, including continental trade

We are keen to encourage work that seeks to combine new conceptual and empirical insights and also those that bridge the knowledge-action gap. Participants will also discuss post-workshop publication plans that could include book projects, a special issue series or other relevant opportunities.


The paper proposal should include a title, the names and institutional affiliations of all authors, an indication of which author(s) will be presenting at the workshop, and abstract of no more than 400 words.

Fees and funding

Up to 12 grants up to the value of €500 will be available to cover travel and accommodation awarded to paper presenters applying from low-income and lower-middle-income economies with additional funding available on the basis of need for outstanding applicants. Please indicate on your registration form if you would require support to attend the conference and provide a short justification.


Deadline for paper proposals: 29 March 2024.

Communication of accepted papers: 30 April 2024.

Deadline for submission of papers: 14 September 2024.

Apply here.