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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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  • Two EU Analysts in front of event banner
    27November 2019

    The EUISS, the EU Delegations to Mozambique and South Africa and ACCORD co-organised a seminar in Pretoria.

  • 19November 2019

    The EUISS and the Africa Working Party of the Council of the EU (COAFR) jointly organised the fifth meeting on sub-Saharan Africa in Brussels.

  • Wolrd Bank conference room
    14November 2019

    The EUISS launched its African Futures Task Force at an event co-organised with the World Bank in Paris.

  • 09October 2019

    The EUISS and the Africa Working Party of the Council of the EU (COAFR) jointly organised the fourth meeting on sub-Saharan Africa in Brussels.

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    08October 2019
    Strengthening the resilience of the Ethiopian state and preventing an escalation of political violence are two policy priorities in view of the 2020 elections. But how can conflict risks be mitigated? And can the ambitious reform agenda be reconciled with concrete local needs and ethnic grievances?
  • 26September 2019

    On 26 and 27 September 2019, Giovanni Faleg participated in the workshop 'From Ambitions to Outcomes: Strengthening Civilian CSDP'.

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    25September 2019
    This Brief analyses the recent civil resistance in Sudan, and explores the reasons for the resilience and longevity that have characterised it compared to previous protest movements in the country. In particular, it examines how the events in Sudan demonstrate the potential of strategic non-violence to bring about societal change, even in the face of violent repression. It concludes by outlining three scenarios for the transition process.
  • 23July 2019

    On 23-24 July 2019, the EUISS convened in Brussels the first, preparatory meeting of a new task force on African Futures 2030.

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    18July 2019

    The 2019 Yearbook of European Security provides an overview of events in 2018 that were significant for European security and charts major developments in the EU’s external action and security and defence policy.

  • 25June 2019

    On 25 June, the EUISS and the European Council’s Working Party on Africa (COAFR) jointly organised the third informal breakfast meeting on sub-Saharan Africa in Brussels.

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    07November 2014

    This Alert examines the background to the mass protests in Burkina Faso which have led to the resignation of the country’s long-ruling president, Blaise Compaoré, and looks at what implications the crisis may have for the region and beyond.

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    28October 2014

    This report aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the objectives, methods, critical success factors and results of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS); and to capture the knowledge and experience resident in the governments and organisations that have contributed to the Group.

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    19September 2014

    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?

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    19September 2014

    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?

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    24July 2014

    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.

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    18July 2014

    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.

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    24June 2014

    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 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.

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    06June 2014

    This Brief looks at the emerging functional federal structures of a country long considered a quintessential ‘failed state’. Why is it that lasting peace and stability remain elusive? And how can the international community best assist the Federal Government of Somalia translate recent security gains into political and developmental progress?

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    11April 2014

    This Alert examines EU-Africa relations in light of the recent high-level summit held in Brussels. What are the expectations of both partners? And how can a deeper, more comprehensive bilateral relationship be achieved?

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    28February 2014

    Sub-Saharan Africa is both blessed with immense energy resources and challenged by desperate energy poverty. This Brief explains how, as Europe diversifies its energy suppliers and seeks improved energy security, a focus on better energy governance and improved energy sustainability in Africa can help manage this contradiction.

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  • 29May 2012

    In the framework of the Observatoire de l’Afrique, the EUISS, in collaboration with the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), organised an Africa Briefing to debate the involvement of African diaspora in peace processes and the prospects of developing a clear agenda this topic within the EU.

  • 18October 2011

    The third conference of the two-year research project ‘Ensuring peace and security in Africa: Implementing a new EU-Africa partnership’ focusing in particular on bilateral relationships with major African countries, EU crisis management policies and democratisation efforts in the post-Lisbon world.

  • 17June 2011

    Report on two experts' group meetings in Paris and Brussels aimed at providing options and recommendations for the formulation of EU counter-piracy policies.

  • 09June 2011

    Bringing together key experts on Nigerian politics and representatives from a wide range of organisations, this Africa Briefing (held in Brussels on 9 June 2011) explored the main challenges for Nigeria in a post-electoral context.

  • 25January 2011

    Un briefing, organisé dans le cadre de l'Observatoire de l'Afrique, a été organisé à l'IESUE le 25 janvier 2011 pour discuter des options possible de sortie de crise.

  • 09December 2010

    Is Sudan ready for its referendum? This EUISS seminar report, ‘The Future of Sudan: challenges ahead’, analyses future scenarios for governance and conflict following the upcoming independence referendum in Southern Sudan on 9 January 2011. The report also proposes various roles the international community, the EU and regional organisations could play in Sudan.

  • 02July 2010

    Somalia has developed into a serious security challenge both regionally and internationally. It is a hotbed of Islamist terror and the origin of an increasing wave of piracy. This seminar provided an update and analysis of the Somali crisis, exploring avenues for sustainable crisis resolution and crisis management approaches.

  • 18March 2010

    The EUFOR Tchad/RCA lessons learned seminar hosted by the Institute on 18 March facilitated a debate on the effectiveness of the EU mission in Chad. The discussions resulted in a number of recommendations for the planning, conduct and execution of subsequent EU operations and generated several ideas for the future of the CSDP.

  • 08June 2009

    On 8 and 9 June 2009, a group of some 40 experts working on Sudan gathered for a workshop which examined various post-referendum scenarios. This workshop report summarises the debates and offers some advice.

  • 23October 2007

    The EUISS co-hosted a high-level conference in Lisbon with the Portuguese Ministry of Defence to debate the role of the EU in African security, the rule of law and political control of the African security sector and the concepts of ownership and responsibility in EU-African co-operation.

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