Europe–Africa relations are facing a double challenge – the COVID-19 pandemic puts social and economic systems under strain at a point when the consequences of the climate crisis are being increasingly felt on both continents. Within Africa and Europe, debates have started about recovery measures to address the pandemic’s short and medium-term socio-economic consequences. A key question in these debates is how to “build back better” and use the crisis to promote green transitions and move towards more sustainable development pathways.
The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) maintain a long-standing partnership on peace and security which can be qualified as constructive. It is largely based on joint interests and objectives and is less contentious compared to other more challenging topics, such as migration and trade. The EU’s new seven-year budget for 2021 – 2027 introduces new ways of working which impact on how the EU will engage on peace and security in Africa. Most notable in this regard is the establishment of the European Peace Facility (EPF) which can potentially undermine the AU’s role in leading and coordinating peace and security measures on the continent. Moreover, these new developments take place against the backdrop of an overall troubled EU-AU relationship which suffers not only from the divergences in interests in key areas such as migration, trade and climate but also from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and global geopolitics.
In this guest contribution for ECDPM, Dr Jide Martyns Okeke argues that collective African leadership and deliberate investments in boosting intra-African trade and digital transformation could accelerate the quest for silencing the guns on the continent.
This briefing note looks at the challenges ahead for large-scale vaccination, as part of our series of looking at the longer term effects of COVID-19 on conflict and fragility in Africa. We ask some of the hard questions about the potential repercussions for highly fragile situations in Africa and what it might mean for the European Union’s role in the global response to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the current state and prospects of partnership between the East African countries and the European Union on migration and forced displacement. The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of migration and forced displacement. Read here about the implications and the steps should taken to move forward.
The pandemic not only acts as a multiplier of existing developmental and socioeconomic challenges in Africa – and thereby contributes to increasing
migratory pressure in and out of the continent – but it also reveals interdependencies between Africa and the EU. It is hoped that the current health and socioeconomic crisis would also act as an opportunity to substantially rethink the relations between the two continents on, and well beyond migration.
Although it is too early to fully assess the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on fragility and conflict in Africa, the pandemic is presenting long-term socio-economic and political challenges which could have long-lasting implications for fragility and security in Africa in 2021 and beyond.
The study looks at the challenges facing industrialisation in African countries, in particular the issues for the policy framework needed to support it. It identifies three positive issues that have appeared during the Covid-19 crisis which will be important in economic recovery efforts: (1) repurposing, accelerated pharma production and joint procurement; (2) increased attention to agro-processing; and (3) use of technological advances.
Africa has not been spared by the COVID-19 emergency. Beyond the immediate health effects, the pandemic threatens the world’s already fragile food system, with particularly severe consequences in Africa. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity believes that the solution lies in small-scale food producers and farmer-managed seed systems.
This year was supposed to be crucial for Africa-Europe relations, culminating in the sixth AU-EU Summit, scheduled for 28 and 29 October in Brussels. But then COVID-19 happened. After a long palaver, a decision was finally taken: the summit will be postponed to 2021, although a date still needs to be fixed. Geert Laporte explains why postponing may not be such a bad thing.