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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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    12June 2015

    Half-way through a year that many dubbed ‘a milestone for African elections’, a mixed picture emerges. President Buhari’s inauguration in Nigeria celebrated the victory of an opposition party in peaceful, free elections. Yet Sudan’s sham election, Ethiopia’s marginal opening and Burundi’s escalating violence tell another story.

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    12June 2015

    This Chaillot Paper looks at CSDP operations and missions, and explores how they fit into the broader crisis management environment and multilateral efforts towards international peace. It highlights the inherent constraints facing CSDP and how these inevitably limit its overall impact or degree of success. The paper also examines the EU’s added value and the extent to which CSDP is moving forward at various levels.

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    05June 2015

    With the five BRICS countries continuing to expand and institutionalise their cooperation on key international issues in an attempt to further increase their global clout, this Brief takes a look at the EU’s response to their rise. Should the BRICS be treated individually or as a group by the Union?

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    13March 2015

    With the EU-led operation in the Central African Republic (CAR), EUFOR RCA, coming to an end after a little less than a year, this Alert assesses the outcome of the mission. What lessons can be drawn from the experience of its launch and deployment?

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    27February 2015

    As elections approach in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, the entire Great Lakes region is bracing itself for a potential of a spike in conflict. This Brief assesses the situation in the DRC, where President Kabila is seeking to control the army, stifle opposition and civil society, and break free of donor pressure. What lessons can be drawn from the situation there?

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    06February 2015

    With Africa’s biggest economy set to go to the polls on 14 February, this Alert explores some of the possible outcomes and the regionalisation of the threat posed by terrorist group Boko Haram.

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    06February 2015

    Le Mali accueille quatre opérations extérieures destinées à contribuer à la restauration de la stabilité dans le pays. Deux des opérations sont européennes, EUTM Mali et EUCAP Sahel Mali, et offrent un exemple de mise en œuvre de l’approche globale de l’UE. Mais quelle est la nature de ces missions et comment vont-elles affronter les nombreux défis mettant en danger la stabilité régionale ?

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    19December 2014

    A collaborative project by the entire EUISS research team, this Chaillot Paper analyses changes in the contemporary global environment according to eight distinct but interconnected perspectives. The publication aims to offer a comprehensive background analysis to the policy debates that will inform the drafting of the Report on the international geopolitical environment that the High Representative is due to present in 2015.

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    08December 2014

    Les tensions existantes entre la CPI et l’Union africaine ont récemment été exacerbées par la comparution du Président kenyan Uhuru Kenyatta devant la Cour pénale internationale. Malgré l’abandon des charges, de nombreuses interrogations subsistent sur l’avenir des relations entre les Etats africains et la CPI. Quelles sont les pistes envisageables afin de trouver un compromis, et l’UE peut-elle contribuer à trouver une solution ?

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    21November 2014

    This Alert traces the history and anatomy of the terrorist group, and calls for a broader approach to counter Boko Haram: disenfranchisement in the north and corruption in the institutions (notably the army) are Nigeria's biggest challenges.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 11September 2015

    The European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) organised this conference on the Sahel as part of the activities held under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

  • 30June 2015

    In association with DG DEVCO of the European Commission and the European External Action Service, the EUISS held a conference on Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea on 30 June 2015 in Brussels.

  • 25June 2014

    On 24-25 June, the EUISS organised the final activity of its Sahel Task Force. The conference convened experts from Europe and West Africa as well as leaders from the Sahel, the EU and the UN, notably H.E. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, UNSG Special Envoy for the Sahel.

  • 24June 2014

    On 24 June 2014, the EUISS co-hosted a transatlantic workshop on EU-US approaches to Africa with the German Marshall Fund of the United States at the Institut's Paris Headquarters.

  • 28January 2014

    On 28 January 2014, the EUISS organised and hosted the Strategy Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) as part of its overall support to the EU Chairmanship of the CGPCS in 2014.

  • 23April 2013

    This workshop organised jointly by the EU Institute for Security Studies and the European External Action Service examined the challenges of piracy and crime at sea as well as the broader challenges to security, governance and development within the region.

  • 13March 2013

    Taking place in Washington, D.C on the 13-14 March, the 2013 EUWF served as a reminder that diplomacy, development and defence are all important elements in attempts to maintain stability and generate growth, even in times of budgetary constraints.

  • 11June 2012

    The EUISS, in the framework of the Observatoire de l’Afrique, organised a briefing in partnership with Open Society Foundations to analyse to what extent Nigeria's planned constitutional reform can change to the country’s political and socio-economic system.

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