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Invented, invited and instrumentalised spaces: conceptualising non-state actor engagement in regional migration governance in West Africa.

  • Academic Journal
  • Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies; Jun2022, Vol. 48 Issue 12, p2945-2963, 19p, 2 Charts
  • This paper analyses the engagement of non-state actors (NSAs) in regional migration policy processes in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It identifies four categories of NSAs – non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations (CSOs), academia and the media – as the key actors engaged in regional migration governance processes in West Africa. The paper adopts a social constructivist approach and a multilevel perspective, drawing on interviews, surveys and an extensive analysis of ECOWAS policy documents. The paper argues that invented, invited and instrumentalised spaces for engagement between state and non-state actors in ECOWAS manifest in a complex web of regional and national interests contributing to regional migration governance from 'below'. Regional migration governance from below consists of transnational societal networks characterised by the interactions of NSAs across borders to influence policies and practices at the regional level. The analysis reveals that NSA engagement results in reinforcing regional policies, policy diffusion through regional processes and circumventing restrictive national agendas through adopting innovative regional approaches. These results contribute to strengthening the institutional framework for regional migration governance in West Africa. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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