Delimitation and Demarcation of Boundaries in Africa: The User’s Guide
Peace and Security Department
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Almost all of today’s political map of Africa was drawn in the 19th and early 20th centuries at negotiation tables in various European capitals. As is well known, this endeavour proved only partially successful: even though only relatively few areas were left with no boundary definition at all, in many parts of the African continent demarcation remained deficient and rudimentary by the end of the colonial era. Where demarcation took place under colonial rule, boundary monuments (also identified as pillars, beacons, and markers) may have disappeared many decades or even more than a century ago, leaving no trace at all and ambiguity as to their original location. In order to cope with the “tangible reality” of the territorial status quo inherited from colonial times, the 1964 OAU-Resolution formulated two more principles of fundamental importance: “the imperious necessity of settling, by peaceful means […] all disputes between African States”; and ``the necessity of proceeding hereby “within a strictly African framework”.