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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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    15December 2020

    On 15 December 2020, the EUISS and the European Council’s Working Party on Africa (COAFR) held their ninth meeting to discuss Turkey’s involvement in Africa. Members of the European Council’s Working Group on Enlargement and Countries Negotiating Accession to the EU (COELA) also participated in the discussion.

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    04December 2020
    Despite routine declarations that connect Sahelian terrorism to climatic and environmental factors, available scientific evidence does not allow us to conclude whether (and what) climatic factors impact (and how) conflict variability and terrorism. This Brief explores why.
  • 15October 2020

    The EUISS and the European Council’s Working Party on Africa (COAFR) held their eighth meeting and first virtual teleconference to discuss Russia in Africa. Members of the European Council’s Working Party on Eastern Europe and Central Asia (COEST) also participated to the discussion.

  • 22September 2020

    The workshop 'Debating stability in North Africa, the Sahel and Horn of Africa: How transnational dynamics and geopolitics impact governance and development' took place in the morning of September 22nd in Pisa, Italy and was jointly organised by the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (SSSA), the European University Institute (EUI) and the EUISS. 

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    15July 2020

    The EUISS' ‘What if’ podcast returns for a second season, this time looking at the foreign policy implication of the covid19 crisis.

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    30June 2020
    European and global approaches towards sub-Saharan Africa

    This Chaillot Paper analyses the evolution of EU member states’ strategies towards sub-Saharan Africa, as well as those of global actors, against the backdrop of systemic changes, including the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seeks to identify the points of convergence – and divergence – in member states’ strategies, and examines how a coherent, joint EU strategy can be achieved.

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    11June 2020
    The global crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has had particularly disruptive consequences for conflict-affected countries around the world. Armed groups have capitalised on the crisis, while the global distraction caused by the pandemic has made it difficult to seize opportunities for peace. This Brief analyses key repercussions in conflict-affected countries in general, and in five countries in particular: Colombia, Libya, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen.
  • 18May 2020

    The EUISS led a session on ‘African geopolitics in transformation: what future for peacebuilding?'

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    31March 2020
    Russia is mounting a remarkable political comeback in sub-Saharan Africa through a ‘low costs, high returns and visibility’ approach. Can a coherent strategy be discerned behind this push? And how is sub-Saharan Africa reacting to Russia’s overtures and what does it mean for the EU?
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    04February 2020

    The EUISS and COAFR jointly organised a seventh breakfast meeting in Brussels.

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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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    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.

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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?

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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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