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Africa

The African continent is undergoing profound transformations. It is affected in particular, by traditional and hybrid threats, growing violent extremism, structural and climate-related vulnerabilities, and migratory pressures.

At the same time, the continent is also witnessing fast-paced political, economic, and technological progress. This is profoundly changing its societies and institutions, and triggering a new prominence of African countries in a multipolar world. 

Recent shocks, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, have accelerated those 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’s strategic alliance with Africa. It shall 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, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063

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 contributing to forge 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

African Trilogy – Chaillot Papers

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

  • African Strategies analyses the evolution of European and global actors’ strategies towards the continent, as a result of the “new scramble for Africa”.
  • African Futures 2030 uses foresight scenarios to explore the implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area for peace and prosperity.
  • African Spaces accounts for physical and non-physical spaces where geopolitical competition takes place in the continent.

Imagine Africa Series – Policy Briefs

The Imagine Africa Series provides a platform for African experts to discuss potential futures for Africa using strategic foresight scenarios on selected priority areas for Africa-Europe cooperation. The first cycle of the series (2021-2022) is dedicated to the broad theme of “people-centred development”.

Conflict Series – Policy Briefs

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

African Cities Working Group

In May 2022, the EUISS has launched an African Cities Working Group, in cooperation with the African Centre for Economic Transformation, the OECD, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, and the International Growth Centre. The initiative brings together key stakeholders, working towards concrete proposals to address structural challenges connected with urbanisation, in three areas: environment; economic resilience; and fragility, conflict and violence.

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.

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

    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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    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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    19January 2016

    The growing consumer market for illicit substances in Europe also poses challenges for West Africa. This Alert shows how its optimal geographical location is turning it into a hotbed for smuggling networks operating out of Latin America.

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    17December 2015

    The Malian peace process underway is at risk of derailing once again. In order to avoid the mistakes of the past, further international support is needed to curb jihadist terrorist groups and create a more favourable security environment for the demilitarisation of the volatile north.

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    20December 2011

    Following the elections in the DRC, it is likely that a small circle of ruling elites will tighten their grip on the state. Space for political opposition and civil society will shrink. To prevent this, the trust of the Congolese people in the political process must, at least partly, be restored.

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    15November 2011

    The Arab democratic wave has not had an effect on Africa as much as some had hoped. But the situation on the other side of the Sahara is more nuanced. Here, the author explores several scenarios where sub-Saharan African nations may face crucial turning points.

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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
    By

    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.

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