The main objective of this project is to study the contribution that informal economic networks make to cross-border integration in West Africa. To achieve this, we will consider three fundamental questions: (1) What are the economic benefits of cross-border informal networks? (2) What is the specificity of border markets? and (3) What are the relationships between traders and public institutions in border areas?The project will first investigate the sociological nature of current cross-border business networks. This will allow us to determine the economic actors involved in cross-border trade, examine the nature of the links between them, and establish how these social relations have adapted in response to globalisation and development policy. We will then examine the spatial dimension of cross-border networks, focusing on the specificity and importance of border markets within the spatial organisation of West African cross-border networks. The project will finally investigate the complex set of relationships that bind traders from border areas to local and national politics.This project will address these questions primarily through the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA), econometrics and biographical information. Two case studies will be provided, involving Niger, Nigeria and Benin: the Gaya-Malanville-Kamba and the Birni N’Konni-Illela border regions.The project will make a significant contribution to the existing literature on cross-border trade in West Africa. It will develop innovative ideas for understanding cross-border economic activities by giving a special importance to the economic actors who run cross-border informal economic networks, to the places where trade is being concentrated and to the institutions which are developed in the process of constructing regional economies. The project could also have a significant impact on development practice and policy.