1 December 2013

Africa: France Hands Over Colonial Border Agreements to AU

The African Union Commission on Friday received the true and complete copies of 45 Agreements relating to African borders, including maps and plans, signed by France between 1845 and 1956, a press release from the AU said.

The collection of colonial archives on African borders is part of the follow-up to the Declaration adopted by the first meeting of African Ministers in charge of Border Issues, held in Addis Ababa, on 7 June 2007.

The Ministers had requested the former colonial powers to transmit information in their possession on the status of African borders. Subsequently, the Commission approached those powers which indicated their willingness to provide the necessary support.

Germany has already transmitted the data in its possession, while Belgium, Portugal and the UK have confirmed their willingness to do the same.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui thanked the French authorities for the cooperation extended to the AU.

He said the documents will contribute significantly to the achievement of the objectives assigned to AUBP regarding the delimitation and demarcation of African borders where such an exercise has not yet taken place.

The Commissioner said he looked forward to enhanced cooperation towards the implementation of the AUBP.

On her part, French Ambassador to Ethiopia and to the AU, Brigitte Collet stressed that the transmission of data was intended to be a practical contribution to the implementation of AUBP, within the framework of its overall cooperation with the AU.

The archives provided by the former colonial powers are accessible through the Border Information System (BIS) established by the AUBP to accelerate the process of delimitation and demarcation of borders where such an exercise has not yet taken place.

In accordance with the decision taken by the AU Summit held in Malabo in July 2011, this process should be completed by 2017.

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