Regionalised Multilateralism? EU-Africa Cooperation in Cyberspace

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The EU is committed to deepening partnerships and alliances with other multilateral and regional organisations, including on promoting responsible state behaviour and strengthening resilience in cyberspace. International cooperation is also a fundamental precondition of technology-enabled development and an essential component of the African Union’s 2063 vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. The EU has outlined a vision for deepening relations between the continents—while reiterating its own commitments to supporting the rules-based global order in a more focused, open and proactive way, including through its global engagements on cyber and digital issues.

On April 13, the EUISS-led EU Cyber Direct Project hosted a track 1.5 consultation between the European Union and African partners. The meeting explored what concrete initiatives and actions that the EU and Africa could develop in order to strengthen their cooperation in cyberspace, while building better partnerships at national, regional and multilateral levels. More broadly, the purpose was to investigate ways through which the EU and Africa could become a cornerstone of a ‘regionalised multilateralism’ whereby regional organisations play a key role in strengthening multilateralism.

The meeting was attended by experts and representatives from African and EU member states, who proposed a number of avenues for cooperation, such as jointly coordinated trainings, threat information sharing and synergies across UN-processes, while acknowledging the persistent challenges like financing, skills and local cyber capacities.