Rome, 15 June 2018 – Distinguished experts from three continents met for a two-day conference on the state of Africa-European relations at the LUISS School of Government, the 2010-founded international annex to the prestigious private Italian University, LUISS ‘Guido Carli’. Situated in the heart of the Parioli quarter in Rome, its campus offers both a choice location and prime conditions for academic study and work. Co-organised be the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) and chaired by LUISS Associate Professor Raffaele Marchetti, the conference took a multi-angle approach to the many aspects of a difficult and historically twisted relationship.
Fifteen panels plus opening and conclusion sessions made for a vast array of information. But in spite of the many contradictory – or at least contrasting – viewpoints, certain insights could be taken from the conference. Some of the more conspicuous ones: undoubtedly, there is ongoing economic and social progress in Africa; this tends to occur where political and public governance attains certain quality standards; political instability and crises in West Africa severely hamper the whole region’s prospects; the effect of traditional Western and European aid is indeed questionable; the growing Chinese involvement in Africa in recent years provides African countries with a serious – and even rival – alternative.
The panels were structured along with the general topics: migration; politics; economy; inter-regionalism; and the Maghreb and the Sahel. It soon became clear that a continent larger than China, the US, India, Japan, and all of Europe combined, was not to be measured