An agency of the EU

Overview

For many in international relations, Africa is unfortunately still often associated with misery and suffering. True, human development indicators are dismal, and insecurity or open conflict affecting not only countries but entire regions is all too common. Yet Africa is also a continent of sustained growth rates and complex national and transnational economic dynamics, often linked to natural resources. Furthermore, it boasts a history of well-orchestrated mediation and peacebuilding efforts as well as successful examples of peaceful (often cross-border) social coexistence between ethnic groups.

The relationship between the European Union and Africa is driven by both development and security concerns. In addition to being the largest donor and main trade partner for the continent, Europe is also a supporter of United Nations policies for Africa as well as the main contributor to multilateral initiatives such as the African Peace and Security Architecture. Development and security objectives feature throughout the two frameworks that currently govern EU-Africa relations: the development-focused cooperation with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and the Joint EU-Africa Strategy that reflects a continental perspective and promotes the achievements of the Peace and Security Partnership. As the EU strives to achieve its goals, it also seeks to improve the effectiveness of its policies, guarantee accountability, and uphold African ownership.

The EUISS works to monitor and analyse security trends and crises in Africa, with special attention paid to the security-development nexus and its potential implications for EU policies. The EUISS recognises that whilst the situations in the Sahel, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa all merit close examination, developments in the Gulf of Guinea (including Nigeria) and other specific countries — such as the Central African Republic or Madagascar — also need to be monitored. EUISS activities and publications seek to uncover underlying opportunities and ‘hindrances’ in the areas of conflict prevention, multilateralism, and crisis management by participating in broader European brainstorming initiatives, and channelling information and ideas arising from African policy debates. As a valuable interlocutor between the knowledge and policymaking communities, the EUISS also contributes to the growth and preservation of networks between think tanks, policy centres and stakeholders, thus strengthening the Africa-EU partnership.

Publications

  • Africa: the EU-US security-economy nexus

    this Alert examines how both the US and the EU have subscribed to a two-pronged strategy encompassing a renewed focus on security and economic cooperation, narrowly confined to counter-terrorism and trade. However, it warns that this security-economy ‘nexus’ should not be allowed to undermine ongoing efforts regarding governance and state-building on the African continent.

  • Re-mapping the Sahel: transnational security challenges and international responses

    This report is based upon the research activities and seminars conducted by the EUISS within the framework of its Sahel Task Force between September 2013 and April 2014, focusing on the security situation in the Sahel region. It explores in further depth some of the key issues discussed: terrorism (including the threat posed by jihadist and Islamist militant groups) and other forms of organised crime in the region, the link between security and development challenges, as well as efforts to increase regional cooperation to tackle the complexity of the challenges in the Sahel.

  • Somalia’s federal agenda: from fragility to fragmentation?

    This Brief looks at the emerging functional federal structures of a country long considered a quintessential ‘failed state’. Why is it that lasting peace and stability remain elusive? And how can the international community best assist the Federal Government of Somalia translate recent security gains into political and developmental progress?

  • Why Africa matters

    This Alert examines EU-Africa relations in light of the recent high-level summit held in Brussels. What are the expectations of both partners? And how can a deeper, more comprehensive bilateral relationship be achieved?

  • EU and sub-Saharan Africa: an energy partnership?

    Sub-Saharan Africa is both blessed with immense energy resources and challenged by desperate energy poverty. This Brief explains how, as Europe diversifies its energy suppliers and seeks improved energy security, a focus on better energy governance and improved energy sustainability in Africa can help manage this contradiction.