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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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    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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    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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    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
    By

    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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    01October 2006

    Qui aurait cru, un an après le marasme politique issu des « non » au référendum sur la Constitution, que l’Union allait devenir, en quelques mois, l’un des acteurs indispensables pour la stabilisation des crises, notamment au Moyen-Orient ?

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    01July 2006
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    As we finalise this second issue of the ESDP newsletter, the European Union is about to launch its fourth military operation under the European Security and Defence Policy: the UN force, MONUC, during the crucial electoral period in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The newsletter places the new mission in the context of the EU's strong, long-standing and multifaceted commitment to the DRC and its transition process.

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    01June 2006

    On 5 May 2006, a Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed by the Government of Sudan (GoS) and one of the rebel movements in Darfur, the Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement. Furthermore, on 16 May 2006, the Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC) adopted a resolution to strengthen the African Union (AU) mission in Darfur prior to the deployment of an United Nations mission.

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    01March 2006

    The European Union (EU) has for a long time paid attention to processes of regional integration and cooperation on other continents. However, the relations the EU has developed with other regional or sub-regional organisations until a very recent period were essentially focused on economic, development and trade issues, partly because of the late emergence of the EU itself as a foreign and security actor.

  • 01January 2006

    A l'encontre des perceptions des années 1990, une amélioration s'esquisse sur le continent africain. L'« afro-pessimisme » résultant de multiples conflits et de difficultés économiques récurrentes semble s'estomper au profit d'une prise en compte de l'hétérogénéité des situations africaines. Dans le sillage de ces évolutions, le Conseil de l'Union européenne des 15 et 16 décembre 2005 a adopté une nouvelle stratégie pour l'Afrique.

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    01January 2006

    Quand on aime, on ne compte pas, dit la sagesse populaire. A contrario donc, les batailles sévères entre Etats membres sur l’avenir du budget européen en disent long sur la double crise de confiance et de solidarité que traverse l’Union depuis plus de six mois. Au point que l’on peut se demander si ce sont bien les « non » français et néerlandais au référendum sur la Constitution qui ont déclenché la crise, ou s’ils n’ont été finalement que les déclencheurs ou les révélateurs d’une rupture plus profonde depuis longtemps présente dans la dynamique européenne.

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    01October 2005

    En 2004, 20% des minerais extraits sur le continent africain ont été exportés vers la Chine ; 20% des importations chinoises de pétrole proviennent désormais des pays d'Afrique sub-saharienne. Bien que la Chine ne réalise que 2,4% de son commerce extérieur en biens manufacturés avec l'Afrique, de nouveaux types d'exportations chinoises - avec des produits à plus forte valeur ajoutée - sont apparus ces dernières années vers les pays africains : en l'espace de quatre ans, le volume des échanges a été multiplié par trois entre la Chine et l'Afrique sub-saharienne.

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