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EU-Africa Relations in a Changing Global Order (ERGO)

European Union – Africa Relations in a Changing Global Order (ERGO) is a research activity carried out as a Jean Monnet Project with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Africa has enjoyed a new prominence in the 21st century. Institutions such as the African Union have capitalised on this status by broadening relations with the result of the world, including members of the rising Global South. Questions have subsequently been asked about the continued relevance of relations with the Global North in a seemingly changing global order. For some people, the EU and its Member States represent a past order, while partnerships with emerging powers China, India and Brazil represent the future. Yet this assumption is not a given. What is more certain is that we are in a state of flux which has challenged Africa’s relationships, new and old. The impetus here is, therefore, to “re-examine” EU-Africa relations in this changing global order. The objective of this proposed project is to bring together top academics, policy makers and political observers to explore how EU-Africa relations can best be understood today in light of a changing global order, highlighting innovations and challenges, and how the partnership can be updated in key areas such as security, trade, migration, development of climate change. Particular focus will be placed on engaging ‘African voices’ – hitherto the least present voices in the debate on EU-Africa relations. ERGO’s main activities were two international workshops as well as a larger one-day open conference, all held in Pretoria. These brought together academics, students, policymakers, practitioners, stakeholders and other members of civil society from across the continent and beyond.

The key outputs are published as a special issue of the South African Journal of International Affairs as well as in a number of policy-relevant publications. The project was carried out with the European Studies Association of Sub-Saharan Africa (ESA-SSA) and served to promote the Jean Monnet Programme and EU studies across Africa.

Project number: 574837-EPP-1-2016-1-ZA-EPPJMO-PROJECT

Contact: esassa.up@gmail.com

ERGO Policy Day 29 November 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERGO First workshop programme July 2017
ERGO Second Workshop November 2017
EU Africa Policy Day programme Nov 29 2017

2014 – SUSTAIN: The Sustainability of Regional Governance

Contemporary challenges, from the global economic crisis to climate change, have revealed the strengths and weaknesses of regional integration throughout the world.
The Euro-crisis, for instance, has exerted a strain on the EU’s model of top-down governance, while reinforcing the pace (and changing the form) of integration in Europe.
Similarly, climate change is forcing us to rethink the current economic model based on globalized markets and GDP growth.
In a recent report for the European Commission and endorsed by the European Parliament, futurist Jeremy Rifkin has argued that the shift to a low carbon economy and the consequential contraction of the economic system will contribute to a shrinking of globalization (at least in its pro-market orientation) while paving the way to the resurgence of ‘continental regions’. In his view, production processes will be increasingly localized and resources will be managed and shared regionally, with a view to creating hubs of sustainability within geographically continuous continents.
This will fundamentally reshape regional integration and its ultimate goals. As conventional market mechanisms are reformed and production systems are reinvented, more and more regional integration will be built from the bottom up, through what Rifkin calls ‘lateral power’, that is, the capacity to affect change through peer-to-peer collaboration. In a word, a citizens-driven development model.

Against this backdrop, SUSTAIN will bring together top scholars of regional governance, civil society and business to reflect on what ‘sustainable regional integration’ entails for regionalism and what new governance ‘innovations’ will be necessary to achieve this objective.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Research and Information Activities

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS)

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS) 

Regionalism has been traditionally analyzed through a top-down lens, generally emphasizing the role of governmental elites, political parties and – to a lesser extent – business associations and epistemic communities. By contrast, civil society has received limited attention by scholars of regionalism in spite of the critical role it can play in strengthening the legitimacy of regional governance. In the past few years, NGOs, social movements, advocacy groups, trade unions and civic associations have been able to exert a growing influence on decision-making at the regional level. This role has been amplified not only by the introduction of specific policy channels and tools (e.g. the non-state actors programme at the EU level, the African Peer Review Mechanism at the AU level, etc.) but also by the desire of citizens to make their voices heard in an arena traditionally dominated by technocrats and lobbyists. The RICS project aims to bring together well-known scholars, civic activists and practitioners to discuss how civil society has contributed and can contribute to shaping regionalism in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Through a major international seminar led by members of the Research Unit for Euro-African Studies, the EU Studies Association of Southern Africa and the UNESCO Chair on Regional Integration (all based at the University of Pretoria), RICS will investigate the role of civil society in ‘building regions from below’ by providing a series of comparative studies. Particular emphasis will be placed on civic-driven responses to the current Euro-crisis and lessons that other regions can learn from these recent events.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Programme.