Violence in North and West Africa

Our most recent research project examines the intensity and concentration of violent events across North and West Africa. We have developed a spatial indicator of political violence that highlights which regions experience the highest rate of conflict, how these conflicts change geographically over time, and how foreign interventions affect their geography. Our first report was launched at the Munich Security Conference in 2020. Watch Dr. Walther’s presentation of the report on YouTube (30 min) or this short video in English or French (7 min). Our second report maps the evolution of conflict networks in the region since 1997.

Space and political violence

Our research explores the complex relationships that bind states, transnational rebels and extremist organizations, and borders on the African continent. Combining network science with geographical analysis, we highlight how the fluid alliances and conflicts between rebels, violent extremist organizations and states shape in large measure regional patterns of violence in Africa

Women and trade networks

Our work highlights the crucial contribution of West African women to the region’s food and trade economy. It shows that these activities face many socio-economic and institutional barriers that limit women’s participation in trade. The analysis of these gender inequalities is based on a relational approach that makes it possible to map the actual relations maintained between economic and political actors within their social networks.

Trade, cities and regional integration

Our research provides a systematic analysis of the role border cities play in the process of regional integration in West Africa. We have developed several indicators that shed light on urban growth, the effect of distance on national cohesion and the impact territorial divisions have on trade at the international level.

Cross-border policy networks

We have developed an original approach to study cross-border co-operation in West Africa. Building on a combination of statistical indicators, mental maps and social network analysis, our work has contributed to visualize the formal and informal relationships between actors involved in cross-border policy networks in the region.

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