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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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    16June 2016

    Although the comprehensiveness of the EU’s approach to addressing the South Sudanese crisis has set a positive precedent, the costly disbursement of over €414m in crisis-response financing is a stark reminder of the need to re-invest in peace.

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    16June 2016

    A little after the anniversary of President Buhari coming power, this Alert looks at the security situation in Nigeria. Although jihadist group Boko Haram is reeling from a series of setbacks, what other problems are facing Africa’s most populous country?

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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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    20April 2016

    Countering violent extremism (CVE) is a fledging approach to combatting radicalisation in the Horn of Africa. But in spite of encouraging progress, CVE remains a tall order as programme implementation continues to be regionally fragmented and largely underfunded.

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    18April 2016

    This Report, which focuses on key features of African armed forces, serves as an introductory guide to those interested not only in the military institutions themselves, but also the context in which European CSDP operations in Africa are deployed.

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    01April 2016

    Beyond the exchange of raw materials for manufactured goods, China’s and India’s relations with the African continent are slowly gaining traction, particularly in the security sphere. But upholding relations with heavyweight OECD partners like the EU remains fundamental for Africa’s economic diversification, as well as democratic consolidation.

  • 26February 2016

    As part of the outreach and consultation process for the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS), the EUISS and the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the EU organised a conference on 26 February 2016 to assess the current multilateral approaches to Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in the Horn of Africa in Brussels.

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    17February 2016

    With Africans increasingly taking charge of security governance on their continent, this Brief assess to what extent the African Union’s partnership with the EU is truly strategic. Have the two continents finally managed to overcome the donor-recipient dynamic which long dominated their relationship?

  • 17February 2016

    Part of the expert outreach and consultation process for the preparation of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, this joint conference was held on 17-18 February 2016 at the Maison de la recherche in Paris.

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    12February 2016

    As both China and India scramble for influence in the region, the ocean looks increasingly like the board of Go – the great encircling game. Is there a maritime governance role there for the EU? One which allows it to finally develop its strategic partnership with the South Asian giant?

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    03February 2009

    During the last few years, African countries have multiplied their efforts at consolidating regional integration and developing common mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. The African Peace and Security Architecture is an emerging set of norms, structures, capacities and procedures established to help the African Union carry out peace and security tasks. This paper analyses the EU’s support to this security architecture, focusing on financial and training aspects.

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    03January 2009

    Depuis son indépendance en 1955, le Soudan a été presque continuellement le théâtre de conflits sanglants. Si les événements du Darfour ont focalisé l’attention, le sud du pays est également un lieu de tensions entre le gouvernement de Khartoum et le Mouvement populaire de Libération du Soudan (MPLS). Certaines similitudes quant à l’origine des affrontements nous ont conduits à établir une corrélation entre ces deux zones.

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    01September 2008

    Since its first autonomous military operation in the Congo in 2003, the EU has increased its role in military crisis management around the world. This paper looks at the often disappointing results of EU-UN cooperation, using the example of the EU’s later operation in the Congo in 2006...

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    06February 2008

    Just when the EUFOR Chad/CAR operation was about to be deployed, a major crisis has erupted in Chad, with several thousand rebels attacking N’Djamena and threatening President Deby’s regime. The current instability, which has forced many citizens to flee the capital, could also impact on the security of civilian populations in the Eastern region where EUFOR was expected to be deployed.

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    06February 2008
    By

    Just when the EUFOR Chad/CAR operation was about to be deployed, a major crisis has erupted in Chad, with several thousand rebels attacking N’Djamena and threatening President Deby’s regime. This is a serious challenge for the EU after months of efforts expended gathering relevant troops and equipment. The current instability, which has forced many citizens to flee the capital, could also impact on the security of civilian populations in the Eastern region where EUFOR was expected to be deployed.

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    01October 2007

    Over the last ten years, the EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) have pioneered EU foreign policy in countries and regions of direct interest to the Union. EUSRs are a face of the Union, enhancing its visibility, and they give it a voice, seeking to deliver a single message to local and international partners, playing an important role in EU foreign policy.

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    01July 2007
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    At dawn on 23 June, after close to 36 hours of intensive talks, EU leaders adopted a mandate for a Reform Treaty. In the field of foreign and security policy, the text foresees the EU should have, as of 2009, a High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy. He will be supported by a European external action service. Another important innovation is the permanent structured co-operation in the field of defence.

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    01April 2007

    L’Afrique est tentée par l’expérience européenne : les chantiers institutionnels et politiques que viennent d’ouvrir les dirigeants africains témoignent de leur volonté de prendre en mains leur propre développement en s’inspirant du modèle européen.

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    01January 2007

    The five West African countries that constitute the Mano River Basin have attracted significant international and regional attention and preoccupation over the last fifteen years. Over the years, a series of agreements has established trade and development aid partnership links between the European Union and the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) group of states.

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    01January 2007
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    The EU military operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has come to an end, on schedule, as the presidential election process came to its own successful conclusion. For the first time in decades, this major African country, as large as the entire EU-25, and so crucial for the stability of the Great Lakes region and of Africa as a whole, has elected its president democratically.

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