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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.

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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.

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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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    16June 2016

    The restoration of a democratically-elected political authority in the Central African Republic (CAR) three years after the outbreak of its latest conflict episode is a positive breakthrough, but no panacea. Unable to shoulder the burden of conflict on its own, it will require sustained international support for years to come.

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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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