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Africa

The African continent is undergoing profound transformations. Traditional and hybrid threats, growing violent extremism, structural and climate-related vulnerabilities, and migratory pressures represent some of the challenges faced by the continent.

At the same time, Africa is also witnessing fast-paced political, economic and technological progress. This is radically changing its societies and institutions,  with African countries gaining a new prominence in a multipolar world, as demonstrated by the accession of the African Union (AU) to the G20 in September 2023.

External shocks, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, have accelerated pre-existing trends.

The relationship between the European Union and African countries and institutions is also evolving, reflecting the new and more competitive geopolitical realities.

The Joint Communication ‘Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ calls for a strengthened EU strategic alliance with Africa. It aims to enhance cooperation on global and multilateral affairs based on a clear understanding of respective and mutual interests and responsibilities. The Strategy also highlights shared commitments between the AU and EU, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063. ‘A Joint Vision for 2030’, adopted in 2022, reiterates the need for a closer partnership for a common future and identifies key priorities in four domains: prosperity and sustainability, peace and security, migration and mobility and multilateralism.

EUISS research on Africa

The EUISS provides innovative research, analysis and advice to support EU and Member States’ strategies and policies towards Africa. Our objective is to contribute to forging a stronger partnership between the two continents.

The EUISS uses its convening power to facilitate knowledge sharing, brainstorming, consensus building and dialogues with stakeholders and local partners, to break new ground on matters affecting Africa-EU relations. The Institute looks at evolving conflict dynamics across the continent, formulating recommendations on how to strengthen the implementation of the EU’s integrated approach.

The EUISS also monitors political, economic and security trends in countries at risk of falling or relapsing into conflict, to make the case for prevention when EU action can be impactful, using strategic foresight methodologies.

Finally, the EUISS studies the African geopolitical landscape and the role of new geopolitical actors projecting their influence in the continent, as well as related emerging challenges, such as cyber risks and hybrid threats.

Flagship initiatives

Chaillot Papers

Four flagship publications exploring the new geo-strategic landscape in Africa:

  • The Africa Atlas ‘maps’ areas of shared interest in the partnership between the EU and the AU and key trends and trajectories by means of visuals and infographics, thus letting data speak through graphics, charts and maps.
  • African Spaces accounts for physical and non-physical spaces where geopolitical competition takes place in the continent.
  • African Futures 2030 uses foresight scenarios to explore the implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area for peace and prosperity.
  • African Strategies analyses the evolution of European and global actors’ strategies towards the continent, as a result of the ‘new scramble for Africa’.

EUISS-COAFR Meetings 

Since January 2019, the EUISS organises regular meetings with the European Council’s Working Party on Africa (COAFR). Sessions are designed to provide delegates of EU Member States with innovative approaches and facilitate knowledge-sharing on selected regions, countries or topics, contributing to Africa-related policy planning and joint analysis.

Conflict Series – Policy Briefs

The Conflict Series examines contemporary conflict situations and conflict-related thematic issues to contribute to enhanced conflict analysis that serves policy planning and policymaking. Several analyses of African conflict situations have been published under the series.

Imagine Africa Series – Policy Briefs

The Imagine Africa Series provided a platform for African experts to discuss potential futures for Africa using strategic foresight scenarios on selected priority areas for Africa-Europe cooperation. Five policy briefs were published under the series and dedicated to the broad theme of ‘people-centred development’. The full list is available here.

African Futures Task Force

From November 2019 to December 2020, the EUISS ran an African Futures Task Force. Its main objective was to explore trends affecting the future of Africa in the next ten years, emphasising challenges and opportunities for policymaking. The task force resulted in the publication of the Chaillot Paper ‘African Futures 2030: free trade, peace and prosperity’ on 9 March 2021.

 

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    19April 2017

    What impact have migration routes out of and within Africa had on EU migration policy? This Brief examines some of the Union’s efforts (and challenges) regarding the continent.

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    19April 2017

    After tensions between the government and citizens reached a boiling point in November 2015, a vicious cycle of protests and repression subsequently took hold for over a year. What, if anything, has the ruling party learned?

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    22March 2017

    Little effort has been made so far to acquire a comprehensive understanding of transnational organised crime, its political economy and its ambivalent, non-linear relationship with political violence and system stability. This Brief takes a theoretical approach to explain the phenomenon in Africa.

  • 01March 2017

    The first expert workshop of the African Futures project was organised in cooperation with the Egmont Institute on 1 March 2017 in Brussels. The workshop discussed Africa’s international relations: Africa’s evolving relations with external partners and the nature of Africa's influence in the world.

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    02December 2016

    The recent decisions by Burundi, the Gambia and South Africa to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) have prompted worries that more countries may leave the Hague-based tribunal which investigates war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. But while it is clear that the ICC is facing important challenges to its credibility and legitimacy, the recent exits might not trigger a domino effect.

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    02December 2016

    The number of popular protests in Africa has increased significantly since the mid-2000s, reaching its peak in recent years. To what extent can this surge challenge sitting governments or even be the harbinger of broader social and political change on the continent?

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    24November 2016

    The EU and China have long sought to cooperate in and with Africa. Illegal migration to Europe, China’s growing commercial investments and terrorists looking for safe haven in Africa bind European, Chinese and African interests. The proliferation of these challenges beyond African borders is now driving the three parties closer together.

  • 21November 2016

    On 21 November, the EUISS held the first meeting of the ‘African Futures’ project at its Liaison Office in Brussels.

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    29July 2016

    This Brief seeks to explain why (and when) coups happen. What conditions are needed to persuade the military to attempt to topple a government? And what elements increase the likelihood of success or failure?

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    16June 2016

    Presidential attempts to extend term limits in the Great Lakes region have resuscitated a debate over their impact on security. But beyond these presidential predicaments, questions have been raised over the erosion of democratic accountability across the region.

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    27July 2011

    In Africa, the aid and security policies of the EU and China are often contradictory. Rather than overemphasise the norms debate, the author argues, the EU and China should focus on seeking common ground and developing a pragmatic approach.

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    06June 2011

    Ce Report est le fruit d’une première coopération entre le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge et l’IESUE visant à développer des échanges mutuellement bénéfiques entre le CICR, l’Union européenne et d’autres acteurs concernés par des problématiques humanitaires.

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    04April 2011
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    The CSDP newsletter aims to give its readers an insight into ongoing work on CSDP development and on crisis management missions. In this current issue, articles on security sector, reform gender activities, Somalia, the EDA and the EU and NATO's future.

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    17February 2011

    Predictions of widespread violence during the South Sudanese independence referendum proved wide of the mark. With adequate diplomatic and financial support, the south could secede peacefully. But numerous challenges remain and the international community should keep Sudan high on its agenda.

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    07December 2010

    Le 13 février 2009 a marqué un tournant majeur dans l’histoire contemporaine du Zimbabwe, avec l’intronisation d’un Gouvernement d’Union nationale. Dans cet Occasional Paper, l'auteur s’efforce de décrypter la politique actuelle de l’UE au regard de ce développement tout en examinant les modalités du réengagement politique et économique de l’UE au Zimbabwe.

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    30November 2010

    L’Afrique, depuis une décennie, est sur la voie d’une « structuration stratégique » dans tous les domaines des affaires internationales. Mais si l’Afrique change vite, les institutions changent lentement. Dans ce Cahier de Chaillot, l'auteur examine comment l’UE relève les défis régionaux avec cohérence et à long terme.

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    29November 2010

    To be effective in Zimbabwe, the EU must count on South Africa. But it must help South African mediation by amending its restrictive measures and by taking sides in the SADC’s internal debates. Can the EU be successful in contributing to the democratic consolidation and the economic recovery of Zimbabwe?

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    27November 2009

    In 2011, will Sudan be united, or divided by war? What will be the repercussions of protracted armed conflict and state secession? In this latest EUISS Report, a range of experts on Sudan enrich the debate about how to stimulate peace, security and development in Africa’s largest nation.

  • 19October 2009

    This book breaks new ground by providing the first comprehensive review of every ESDP operation to date. It explains how the EU institutions responsible for international crisis management have developed and functioned, reviews the civil and military resources available to the ESDP, and analyses the key partnerships between the EU and other international organisations.

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    11August 2009
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    In the last year, the EU has been conducting two major military operations in and around Africa as well as continuing its police mission in Afghanistan. This Summer issue looks at the EU's engagement in these regions. It also gives a bird's eye view of an ESDP operation as seen from the EU Satellite Centre and finally Karl von Wogau, Chairman of the European Parliament Sub-Committee for Security and Defence, takes stock of the development of ESDP.

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