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

  • The Ebola outbreak: local and global containment

    This Brief provides an assessment of the impacts of the Ebola virus following its rapid expansion across West Africa. But what is the likelihood of the epidemic becoming a threat of global concern? Can the international community now orchestrate a coordinated response to contain its spread?

  • The changing game of multilateralism

    This Alert examines the outcome of the BRICS summit that took place in July, as well as the reluctance of individual BRICS to criticise Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Does the establishment of the New Development Bank herald an age of opposition to Western-dominated institutions and policies?

  • Après Srebrenica : la perpétuelle réforme du maintien de la paix

    Le Conseil de sécurité a tenu en juin dernier un débat sur le maintien de la paix ; le Secrétaire général y a demandé une nouvelle revue de ce qu’il considère comme l’ « activité phare » de l’ONU. Cet Alert replace ces développements dans le contexte élargi de l’après-Srebrenica.

  • 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.