Recent critical developments in African border areas that threaten to further destabilize fragile situations of peace, and considering the fundamental role local authorities play in sustaining territorial and economic development, UNCDF in partnership with the Government of Luxembourg and the UEMOA, devised the Local Cross-Border Initiative (LOBI).
In a first time, LOBI will be piloted in the West African SKBo and IIRSahel’s project regions to strengthen cross-border governance through the definition of regional and national strategies. The piloting of cross-border local development processes will help to improve economic stability and human security. LOBI will partner with the most relevant West-African actors in fostering cross-border cooperation, the Conseil des Collectivités Territoriales (CCT), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). As the implementation of Cross-Border Cooperation remains very weak on the sub-national level, LOBI will use local authorities as key entry points and partners within the process of local development and decentralization. LOBI will increase much needed financing, both using international aid flows and national development programmes. It will pilot a cross-border local development fund (LDF) to increase investments and support innovations in local economic development, gender and food security as well as directly contribute to the sustainability of the provision of basic services to cross-border communities.
On a global level, frictions tend to be inherent to cross-border areas, making them spreading centres for conflicts. Yet, they hold an immense but largely untapped potential for development. LOBI is set to strengthen cross-border governance, fostering socio-economic integration and thus, promoting sustainable peace and stability and accelerating economic growth. LOBI is designed to be replicable to any given cross-border area. A first evaluation into the second year of LOBI’s pilots, will result in defining strategies to expand the programme to a number of cross-border areas throughout Africa and Asia. LOBI plans to largely coordinate its actions with other institutions working in the field of cross border cooperation to make its interventions most efficient and effective.
UNCDF and its partners are very excited about launching LOBI, expecting to significantly contribute to stabilize its programme’s areas, by building local capacities, fostering growth and development and supporting integrative policies.