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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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    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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    13February 2014

    Le déploiement prochain d’une mission EUFOR en RCA aura comme objectif la protection des populations civiles. Ce mandat est-il réaliste, et quelles leçons peut-on tirer d’opérations dans le passé ayant eu des mandats similaires ?

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    24January 2014

    This alert provides an overview of the key events and potential political crises that are likely to occur in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the coming year.

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    24January 2014

    With the decision to launch EUFOR RCA Bangui, EU member states appear to be displaying a willingness to inject new momentum into crisis management in sub-Saharan Africa. But how likely is it that the situation in the CAR will be sufficiently stable in six months to allow the EU to declare victory and hand over to AU forces or the UN?

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    17January 2014

    This alert explores the EU’s security engagement in Somalia. It highlights the fact that, despite its sizeable financial contribution to the force, the EU does not have leverage on AMISOM’s operational command or its troop architecture. EU tools are not currently being used to their full potential in the country and their eventual effectiveness is ultimately dependent on other partners’ efforts.

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    13December 2013

    Despite the progress made since the presidential elections earlier this year, serious disputes remain over the status of the regions in northern Mali. With extremists beginning to take advantage of the situation, this alert explains why the country must break the current political deadlock and begin the long-overdue process of reconciliation.

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    06December 2013

    L’envoi de troupes françaises en République centrafricaine est une étape d’une approche qui rappelle celle gouvernant la gestion de la crise malienne. Mais les parallèles entre ces deux processus soulignent certaines difficultés, notamment les relations difficiles entre organisations régionales et sous-régionales, les carences de l’approche régionale et la faiblesse des acteurs africains. Quelles solutions existe-t-il, et l’UE est-elle en mesure d’apporter des solutions?

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    29November 2013

    This brief analyses what impact the five BRICS countries are likely to have in global politics in the years to come, and what future trajectory the grouping might take. The BRICS ‘club’ may or may not last – in its present or another formation – but its rise is a wake-up call for the EU to deepen its bilateral relations with individual BRICS and possibly reconsider its own position in the emerging system of global governance.

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  • 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.

  • 09July 2007

    This seminar was convened in order to understand the humanitarian crisis in all its complexity but also to determine how the European Union can act effectively in such circumstances as well as to ascertain what could be done in the future to prevent such humanitarian disasters from happening again.

  • 27June 2007

    This seminar aimed at reviewing standard political and economical formula in implementing peace. As five ESDP operations have taken place in Africa, this seminar also aimed at identifying the international and local contexts in which the EU is developing its crisis management instruments.

  • 08November 2004

    This seminar drew together experts to analyse and debate ‘failing states’ – long a matter of concern to policy-makers in the field of economic development, but now high on the international security agenda.

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