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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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  • Download Brief
    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.

  • EUISS Director Gustav Lindstrom and Senior Analyst Giovanni Faleg open the panel..
    14May 2019

    An EUISS delegation attended the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2019 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development between 14-16 May.

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    10April 2019
    This Brief demonstrates how a ‘pivot’ to conflict prevention in foreign assistance to Mozambique is needed, adjusting international donors’ support towards more targeted conflict-prevention objectives, and balancing the need for conflict sensitivity with the imperative of effective relief and recovery interventions in the areas hit by the cyclone. But it is important to realise that the ‘prevention window’ will not remain open indefinitely, and timely action is therefore of the essence.
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    09April 2019
    This Brief launches a new EUISS series on conflicts, by focusing on the renewed attention to prevention in international peacebuilding at a time when the human and economic costs of violent conflict keep rising.
  • 02April 2019

    On 2 April, the EUISS and the Africa Working Party of the Council of the EU (COAFR) jointly organised the second informal breakfast meeting on sub-Saharan Africa in Brussels.

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    25March 2019
    How can SSR assistance lead to effective and sustainable reforms, and ultimately contribute to reduce fragility, conflict and violence? This Brief seeks to answer these questions by analysing the introduction and implementation of the security sector public expenditure review (PER), a public sector governance instrument that assesses the efficiency and financial sustainability of governments’ security and defence allocations, including SSR programmes.
  • PowerPoint backdrop used during meeting with with map of Europe
    29January 2019

    On 29 January, the EUISS and the Africa Working Party of the Council of the EU (COAFR) jointly organised in Brussels the first of a series of breakfast meetings on sub-Saharan Africa.

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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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    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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  • 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.

  • 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.

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