Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 11, No 1 (2018)

Cross Border Movement and Language Barriers in West Africa

Chelsea Mina Betek, Fayomi Oluyemi Oyenike, Agboola Mayowa Gbenga


This study examines cross border movement and language barriers in West Africa. The Economic Community of West African States Protocols on Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Establishment established in 1979 made the movement of persons possible with little or no impediments within the West African Sub-region, with the vision of a fully integrated sub-region in years to come. In spite of the high rate of migration which characterizes the sub-region, language barriers which impede the cross border movements of persons have not been given much attention in West African migration studies. The study therefore seeks to examine language barriers in West Africa and how they manifest in the movement of persons within the sub-region. The study adopts a descriptive approach, examining the manifestations of language barriers in the intra-regional migration dynamics of West Africa. The study finds that the existence of a linguistic gap is a fact in West Africa, however, the development of multilinguism and cross-border languages have been instrumental to abating the language barriers in the Sub-region.


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