In Africa

  • A country that matters

In Africa

Spanish Army operation in Mali. Photo: Spanish Ministry of Defence
Spanish Army operation in Mali. Photo: Spanish Ministry of Defence

African current affairs pose important challenges and opportunities for action to Spanish foreign policy. Despite the continuous challenges such as poverty or the threats to peace and safety, the advancement of democratic regimes and of regional integration initiatives open up new scenarios for international cooperation and regional advancement.

Sahel and Mali

Spain has helped and cooperated with the Sahel region both in the political arena and the fields of security and development for years. Our country has participated with France, for instance, in the Operation Serval and contributed personnel to the European Union training mission for the Malian armed forces (EUTM).

The 1st Spain-ECOWAS Summit in 2009 marked a historic landmark in Spain-ECOWAS mutual cooperation

West Africa

Spain has tightened ties with the regional organisation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Spain is firmly committed to regional development and integration in West Africa.

The 1st Spain-ECOWAS Summit, held in 2009, marked a historic landmark in Spain-ECOWAS relations and mutual cooperation. An ambitious programme was drafted that covered action in different areas like infrastructure, food safety, agriculture, renewable energy or migration.

Horn of Africa

Spain’s interest in the Horn of Africa is evident in the country’s foreign policy, which turned attention to the region in recent years. The emergence of South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean or the remarkable economic growth of countries like Ethiopia have driven Spanish action to this African region.

Spain took part in European operations in the Horn of Africa such as the European Union Naval Force Operation-Atalanta aimed at deterring and stopping piracy at sea off the Horn of Africa, the European Union training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) and the EUCAP Nestor for Regional Maritime Capacity Building Mission in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. Also, Spain was part of NATO operations in this region, such as the Ocean Shield counter-piracy mission.

Equatorial Guinea

The relationship between Spain and Equatorial Guinea has been marked by a shared history and a common language. Since 1981, following the establishment of the Office for Cooperation with Equatorial Guinea, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Spain has cooperated with this country in sectors such as public health, education and culture.

As regards education, the main programmes focus on the reform of the education system through a continuous teachers’ training plan. There are two Spanish private schools in the country: Colegio Español Don Bosco in Malabo and Colegio Español in Bata.

In the health department, the Religious Persons Foundation for Health (FRS) has a broad network of healthcare centres across Equatorial Guinea, and the Foundation for the Development of Nurding (FUDEN) makes great efforts to train non-medical health staff in the African country.

The Carlos III Public Health Institute has operated in Equatorial Guinea since 2002 through the Endemic Disease Control Reference Centre. The institution offers support to the Ministry of Public Health and Welfare of Equatorial Guinea training staff and cooperating in public health issues like epidemic and infectious disease control. The most common diseases of this kind in this African country are HIV-aids, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy or trypanosomiasis. 

South Africa

South Africa is the main market for Spain in Sub-Saharan Africa. High-ranking government officials from the two countries have held annual consultations since 2003. Since the 1990s, Spain has supported African organisations in South Africa such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).

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