The remaking of Ghana and Togo at their common border: Alhaji Kalabule meets Nana Benz

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Abstract / Description of output

In Chapter 11, I pointed to the very different – and indeed fundamentally incompatible – manner in which incumbent regimes in Senegal and the Gambia responded to the crisis of the early 1970s. I also highlighted the ways in which the enhanced mobility of Senegambians and the accelerated flow of contraband goods together brought about a spatial reordering that was neither in any official plan nor the outcome of any formal cross-border co-operation agreement. In this chapter, I will perform a similar exercise for the trans-Volta with a view to establishing how far comparable dynamics were at play. There are, however, some underlying differences, which it is worth pointing out at the start because they account for some of the variations of emphasis in the text that follows. First of all, as we have seen, Ghana had pioneered a statist vision of development well before the crisis of the end of the 1960s, whereas Togo had yet to find its feet as an entrepôt state by 1967. The points of departure were therefore significantly different from those in the Senegambia. Secondly, a succession of military interventions in Togo (1963 and 1967) and in Ghana (1966, 1972, 1978/9 and 1981) brought another set of forces into the equation. The prolongation of military rule had institutional consequences of its own because the pressure to increase the numbers of armed personnel typically led to greater demands on the budget. In addition, there was a leakage of military norms into other areas of governance, including not only much routine administration, but also border policing. Furthermore, there were more or less explicit demands that the military be considered as partners to the wider social contract. It was only in the Gambia after 1994 that something comparable seemed conceivable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBoundaries, Communities and State-Making in West Africa
Subtitle of host publicationThe Centrality of the Margins
Place of PublicationCambridge; New York
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages48
ISBN (Electronic)9781139105828
ISBN (Print)9781107020689, 9781107622500
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Publication series

NameAfrican Studies
PublisherCambridge University Press


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