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Add to Calendar 23/10/2017 09:30 23/10/2017 17:30 Africa/Casablanca Regional Responses to Security Challenges in Europe and Africa OCP Policy Center, Rabat The recent attacks in Barcelona, London and Paris have pushed terrorism, and concurrently national, regional, and global efforts to counter it, towards the top of the security agenda in Europe. Alongside that, the strengthening position of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the raging civil war in Libya are just two examples that demonstrate Africa faces its own s... OCP Policy Center, Rabat OCP Policy Center false DD/MM/YYYY
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 09:30 to 17:30

Regional Responses to Security Challenges in Europe and Africa

OCP Policy Center, Rabat

The recent attacks in Barcelona, London and Paris have pushed terrorism, and concurrently national, regional, and global efforts to counter it, towards the top of the security agenda in Europe. Alongside that, the strengthening position of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the raging civil war in Libya are just two examples that demonstrate Africa faces its own serious security challenges. This all comes against the backdrop of a deteriorating global security picture in the Middle East, Asia, United States and elsewhere, which is of deep concern to both regions. With that in mind the need for a regional response within Europe and within Africa, and between the two regions and continents, has never been stronger.

This conference will examine the current trends in terrorist attacks across Europe and Africa, and the responses being taken by individual governments and between governments. The conference will then discuss the current state of regional integration in Europe and Africa, and how regional initiatives can be used to tackle regional and global security issues.
The RUSI-OCPPC conference will be broken down into two parts, with two panels each:

Part I: Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Panel I: Terrorism Trends and Developments
Panel II: Counter-terrorism and Safeguarding Peace and Security

Part II: Security vs. Regional Integration

Panel III: Integrating the EU and NATO in the Security Sphere
Panel IV: Regional Integration and Security in Africa



09:30 – 09:50


Karim El Aynaoui, Managing Director, OCP Policy Center
Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director for Strategic Research Partnerships, RUSI

09:50 – 11:10


Over the years, the African continent has witnessed the multiplication of terrorist groups, destabilizing the countries and regions in which they operate in their fight for influence over particular regions. In the Sahel, both Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State (IS, also known as Daesh) are at play, competing for influence and ideological supremacy. This terrorist phenomenon knows no borders, and thrives on new forms of communication, primarily social media. Through this medium, both AQIM and IS are able to export their extremist views worldwide, and have seen their ideology translated into violence, hence the wave of terrorist attacks  in Europe. The new trend in terrorism is to operate in isolation and utilize basic methods such as knife attacks and car ramming, which make them difficult to prevent, and makes any crowd a potential target. Across Europe and Africa, states and governments are struggling to overcome the terrorist threat and are witnessing great challenges when faced with the phenomenon of returning foreign fighters. What are the roots of these groups? Are there similarities in their discourse and ideology? And how has the situation evolved over the past couple of years?

Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director for Strategic Research Partnerships, RUSI

- Abdelhak Bassou, Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center 
- Bouchra Rahmouni Benhida, Senior Fellow, Al Akhawayn University
- Tobias Borck, Associate Fellow, RUSI

11:10 – 11:30

Coffee Break

11:30 – 12:50


There is an urgent need to take stock of the many security challenges facing both Europe and the African continent, identify the links between each one, and design policies that address the rise of terrorism, both in the medium and long term. For instance, the Islamist threat in Europe has triggered a far right-wing domestic movement that expresses a hostile narrative against Muslims, and more generally against immigration, and which in certain cases has even perpetrated their own acts of violence and terrorism. Broad generalizations about the motives of terrorist groups should be avoided, and it is crucial to take into account the local dimension that feeds into a group’s discourse when discussing appropriate counter-terrorist measures. Dismantling the anti-globalization and anti-Western extremist narrative that causes wide social unrest and which leads to the radicalization of young people is also fundamental when dealing with such movements. What can be done to contain or defeat the terrorist phenomenon? Do governments alone have the capacity to address current security challenges? What are the structures put in place to deal with terrorism, in Europe, MENA and Africa? Is there sufficient coordination between North and South on their counter terrorism efforts?


Bouchra Rahmouni Benhida, Senior Fellow, Al Akhawayn University

- El Mostafa Rezrazi, President, Moroccan Association for Asian Studies 
- Zineb Benalla, CEO & Founder, Eirene Associates Intl.
- Mohammed Elshimi, RUSI

14:20 – 15:40


In Europe NATO is traditionally responsible for the defence and security of the continent. In turn, the European Union is its foremost political and economic body. In this way they neatly divide, in theory, the core tasks of protection, wealth generation and political coordination. However, the European Union has in truth become an increasingly important security actor in Europe and its limited military ambitions are increasingly creating some tensions between it and NATO. While both the EU and NATO are far more developed, extensive multilateral organizations than those in Africa so far, it is clear that greater coordination in the security arena is required between the two bodies. What role is there for the European Union in promoting security in Europe? How can NATO and the EU integrate their security and defence policies effectively? What tension is there between the EU and NATO with regard to the USA’s membership of the latter body? What lessons can prospective regional initiatives, such as in Africa, learn from them? And what aspects of them should Africa’s own regional initiatives avoid?   

Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director for Strategic Research Partnerships, RUSI
- Rachid El Houdaigui, Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center 
- Alice Billon-Galland, European Leadership Network

15:40 – 16:00

Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:20


In the face of Africa’s multiple security threats, integration and regionalization initiatives are increasingly seen as providing unique opportunities for securing sustainable economic growth, peace and stability, and democratic consolidation. Thus, regional integration and co-operation groupings such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are emerging as conflict managers in their respective regions. In response to regional conflicts, some have come up with regional early warning and early response apparatus, such as the ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism and the IGAD Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Mechanism, CEWARN. Projects such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the UN Millennium Declaration, and the African Union (AU) have emphasized the role of regional economic communities in responding to Africa’s challenges. How can these groupings help the continent identify and deal with its security issues?   

- Fatima Harrak, Professor, Mohamed V University in Rabat 
- Ewan Lawson, RUSI

17:20 – 17:30


Karim El Aynaoui, Managing Director, OCP Policy Center
Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director for Strategic Research Partnerships, RUSI


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About the Speakers :
  • Abdelhak Bassou

    Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center

    Abdelhak Bassou occupied several offices within the Directorate General of the Moroccan National Security where he was Borders’ Division Chief from 1978 to 1993. He was the former Director of the Royal Institute of Police in 1998. He also served as the Chief of Regional Security (Errachidia 1999-2003, Sidi Kacem 2003-2005) and was also Head of the Central General Intelligence from 2006 to 2009.

    He also contributed to the output of several international organizations endeavors including the Council of Arab Interior Ministers from 1986 to 1992, where he represented the Directorate General of National Security in several meetings. Abdelhak Bassou holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and International Studies from the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences of Agdal in Rabat.

  • Zineb Benalla

    CEO and Founder, Eirene Associates. Int.

    Zineb Benalla in an international expert and consutant in CVE, PVE, CT and Peace Building who spent many  years working in VE hotspots  in the Maghreb, Sahel and the Lake Chad region.  She was a consultant to USAID /OTI and AECOM International Development in Bamako, Gao, and Timbuktu in peace building reconciliation and CVE working with civil society, community engagement and policy makers doing Action research and implementing projects. Prior to that Ms. Benalla worked with the Arab Center on counter radicalization programming and promoting civil society values in the Middle East/North Africa. She has also been involved as a CVE advisor to International Organization on Migration (IOM)  in Niger. During six months she conducted research, identified  youth at risk and helped implementing CVE activities in Agadez, Diffa and Niamey. She provided her CVE experience to shape approaches and activities development to the NCCI program in Niger. She was  a Consultant as a field researcher to the British Council in Morocco on building community resilience in the North of Morocco. She was part of the research team of Mercy Corps which examined lessons from violence prevention programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and apply those lessons to violence prevention in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She was also   Consultant to USAID/Creative Associates  Nigeria Program to develop a regional CVE Network ( Niger. Nigeria, Cameron, Chad and Mali). She also led a research in the North of Morocco and in the Rif Mountains with the Research Security Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK. She just finished last month her work as a consultant in Ghana on a project in the Lake Chad Basin helping establishing a platform to CVE/and CT in the four countries (Niger, Nigeri, Chad, and Cameroon) focusing on the Lake Chad Basin area. Ms. Benalla is alo co founder of a Think tank working on transnational violence and CVE and a Co founder of a peace building network ( a civil society network).  

  • Karim El Aynaoui

    Managing Director, OCP Policy Center

    Karim El Aynaoui is currently Managing Director of OCP Policy Center, a think tank based in Rabat. He also serves as advisor to the CEO and Chairman of OCP Group, a global leader in the phosphate sector. From 2005 to 2012, he worked at Bank Al-Maghrib, the Central Bank of Morocco. He was the Director of Economics and International Relations, where he provided strategic leadership in defining and supporting monetary policy analysis and strategy. He was also in charge of the Statistical and International Relations Divisions of the Central Bank, led the research division and was a member of the Governor’s Cabinet. Before joining Bank Al-Maghrib, Karim El Aynaoui worked for eight years at the World Bank, both in its Middle Eastern and North Africa, and Africa regions as an economist. He has published papers, books and articles in scientific journals on macroeconomic issues in developing countries. Recently, he co-authored a book outlining a growth strategy for Morocco and was the guest editor of a special issue on food price volatility in Oxford Economic Papers. Karim El Aynaoui is a board member of the OCP Foundation, a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and a member of the COP22 Scientific Committee. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Bordeaux, where he taught for three years courses in statistics and economics.

  • Rachid El Houdaigui

    Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center

    Rachid EL Houdaïgui is professor of International Relations at Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Tangier's Law Faculty and Senior Fellow at the OCP Policy Center. He is also professor at Royal College of Advanced Military Studies (Kenitra) and professor invited at Cergy-Pontoise University (Paris),Cadix University (Spain) and at La Sagesse University (Beirut, Lebanon).

    Mr. EL Houdaïgui is the author of numerous books and articles dealing with International relations and geopolitics: the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Arab world. Also, he is co-director of the Moroccan-Spanish review “Peace and International Security”  and in charge of the Observatory of Mediterranean Studies (Abdelmalek Essaadi University).