The UK and France in West Africa: towards convergence?

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This article examines convergence between the United Kingdom and France in West Africa since 1997–1998. This readiness to work together on African issues is in stark contrast to the history of rivalry between the two nations on the continent that dates back at least to the Fashoda incident of 1898. The article shows how security concerns in West Africa were a key driver of Anglo-French convergence and then goes on to examine how far the United Kingdom and France have been able to move beyond their traditional, largely unilateral, policies within their spheres of influence in West Africa and adopt a new, more cooperative approach. The article uses three case studies—convergence within the United Nations Security Council and the European Union and engagement with Economic Community of West African States—to provide examples of different areas of convergence. It then goes on to ask how far we can generalize from these case studies about what enables convergence and cooperation and what hinders them. Finally, the question of regime efficacy, in terms of the outcomes of convergence, is addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-256
JournalAfrican Security
Issue number3-4
Early online date7 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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