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Oil, gas, mines… how Africa’s inherited colonial borders fuel discord

By Marie Toulemonde
Posted on Monday, 13 September 2021 10:08

The continent’s often imprecisely demarcated borders, inherited from the colonial era, have given rise to numerous disputes between African nations. Each country seeks to benefit from these disputed areas, especially when they contain natural resources.

According to the African Union (AU), only a third of African borders have been precisely defined and materialised. At issue are the maps with approximate outlines, left by colonists at the time of independence, which are open to interpretation. This is the case in the Gulf of Guinea, where the question of maritime borders became thorny from 1990 onwards, when hydrocarbon deposits were discovered there, which provoked a race to appropriate the various seas between the countries in the area.

15 ongoing disputes