Africa and Europe seem increasingly interconnected yet divided. Apart from the commonly mentioned factors of history and geographical proximity, both continents face a growing number and a broader variety of shared challenges, interests, and goals. As these cover various political domains from economy to security and from culture to mobility, relations can justifiably be regarded as of high strategic importance. However, the nature of this interconnectedness often remains more assumed than comprehensively analysed. The balance may not be even, but more importantly, it may not lead us in the direction a shared understanding of the past would lead us to believe. Acknowledging that the time had come to reassess the deep-seated belief that Africa remains dependent on European aid and offers little in return, the recently completed the Africa-EU relations, migration, development and integration (AEMDI) project brought into conversation leading academics, policy makers, political observers and practitioners from civil society to explore and examine alternatives for the relationship between the continents.
A collaboration between the University of Pretoria, the University of Zululand, and the University of Eastern Finland in implementing an action initiated under the Jean Monnet Activities within the Erasmus+ Programme Project Number – 587767-EPP-1-2017-1-ZA-EPPJMO-PROJECT arrived, through a series of events and academic confrontations, into a conclusion that the future of the continents is one of mutual dependence. The dynamics which simultaneously bind and separate the continents, however, remain understudied and deserve proper examination and reappraisal.
In seeking to contribute to that end, four book volumes were prepared based on the joint action: