5: Colonial Continuities and the Commodification of Mobility Policing: French Civipol in West Africa

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The chapter investigates how the historical intertwinement between colonialism, corporate interests and policing is mirrored in the current ways that Europe attempts to control migration from West Africa. It first considers the role of public-private relationships and surveillance during and in the aftermath of French colonization. Building on this, it goes on to explore the case of Civipol, an agency specializing in the capacity-building of African countries’ internal security co-owned by the French state and major European security companies, which has gained a prominent role as a main implementing partner of EU funds to control migration. Looking especially at Civipol’s engagement in the building of national civil registries, it is argued that colonial continuities can be traced in present mobility policing, and that corporate interests co-shape the securitization of Europe’s relations with Africa.

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