Former MSc Migration Studies student Nathalie Raunet in this paper considers the role of borderland chiefs in regulating African mobility. Focusing on the Ghana‒Togo borderlands, Raunet shows that traditional chiefs have historically participated in the regulation of mobility, whether under colonial rule or after independence. She finds that traditional borderland chiefs are gatekeepers at the crossroads between state borders, borderland villages’ limits, and regional organisations such as ECOWAS. In this position of power and according to their interests, Raunet suggests that borderland chiefs are both a competing authority to the state in terms of cross-border livelihoods and smuggling, but also indispensable allies, acting as mobility gatekeepers.
This paper is also published as COMPAS working paper 131.