In the past years, the African continent has seen a spike in the number of armed conflicts and associated fatalities and a decline in the quality of democracy. In addition, there has been an increase in forced migration and population displacement and a resurgence of the coup phenomenon. The rise in violent extremism in Mozambique, for example, poses a real threat to South Africa and other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and it is key that sustainable interventions are collaboratively envisaged and engaged to remedy these issues. As key actors in global, continental, and regional peace and security issues the EU and South Africa are well positioned to initiate a dialogue on these matters, on their understanding of the challenges and approaches to peace and security on the continent and to draft joint actions that will enable a more sustainable peace and development in Africa.
Since September 2021, this process has been facilitated by the EU with the support of Frankfurt School’s International Advisory Services (IAS). The “Gateways for Peace: EU-South Africa partnership for peace and security” initiative aims at increasing the EU’s cooperation with South Africa on a number of foreign policy matters, including peace and security, human rights and governance in Africa. IAS supported the initiative by organising a series of events and discussions in South Africa on a number of significant issues such as violent extremism in Mozambique, the implementation of the conflict prevention pillar of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in South Africa and the lessons learnt from implementing the agenda for peace, looking at the peace building interventions in the Sahel region and in Somalia by the EU and the African Union (AU).
High-level representatives from the EU and South Africa, including the diplomatic community, policy makers, researchers and practitioners as well as the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation in South Africa Naledi Pandor and the EU Ambassador to South Africa, Riina Kionka, participated in the events and discussions. They resulted in a policy brief on a comprehensive and coordinated response in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, as well as in the development of a roadmap for women’s engagement in conflict prevention and the building of a regional infrastructure for peace in South Africa.
In the next 18 months, Frankfurt School will continue to assist the EU in this endeavour. A total of ten additional events, including a public debate, and an artist exhibition and talk, will be organised in South Africa on issues such as xenophobia and human rights, population displacement and maritime security. The aim is to increase the understanding between the EU and South Africa and to identify further possible joint EU-South Africa actions in the region and on the continent.