The nexus between violent extremism and the illicit economy in northern Mozambique

Is Mozambique under siege from international organised crime?

Published within the Extremisms in Africa anthology series, this chapter by Dr Linos Mapfumo explores the nexus between the insurgency in northern Mozambique and the region’s extensive illicit economies.
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LINOS MAPFUMO is a senior foreign policy analyst in the Zimbabwean Foreign Service and is also a research associate at both the N’Zarama Centre for Peacebuilding in Abidjan as well as the Development Reality Institute in Harare. He is also a Lecturer at the Bindura University of Science Education. He has more than 20 years of practical experience working for government institutions and civil society organisations, wherein part of his work included identifying, profiling and analysing world security threats. His main specialities are peace building and development, counterterrorism, climate change and local governance. He was previously stationed in South Africa as a diplomat, where he worked extensively at promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation, while at the same time identifying and analysing security threats towards the southern African region. Previously, he was an assistant managing editor/administrator with the Journal for Peacebuilding & Development, South-North Centre for Peace building and Development. He holds a PhD in Administration from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Escalation of Extremist Violence in Southern Africa and the Need for More Collaborative Security Responses

Published within the Extremisms in Africa anthology series, this chapter by Stephen Buchanan-Clarke provides an overview of terrorist activity in Southern Africa in recent years as well as challenges to building regional security collaboration.

 

 

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Stephen Buchanan-Clarke is a security analyst with several years of experience working in both conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa, primarily on issues of peace and security; transitional justice and reconciliation; democratisation and governance; and preventing and countering violent extremism. He currently serves as head of the Human Security and Climate Change (HSCC) project at Good Governance Africa and is a co-editor of the Extremisms in Africa anthology series.

What is behind the renewed violence in Central African Republic?

CAR will struggle to break the cycle of violence without international commitment to end it

Militiamen of the armed group coalition Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) in the village of Niakari, which marks the front line with Central African army and its allies, north of Bangassou. On January 3, 2021, the city of Bangassou was attacked by hundreds of CPC militiamen, causing tens of thousands of people to flee into the bush and neighbouring DR Congo. Since the end of December 2020, the rebel coalition has taken control of the main roads and several of the country’s major cities. Photo: Alexis Huguet/AFP

On January 4, the incumbent president of Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin-Archange Touadéra, was re-elected for a second term after the country’s electoral commission announced he defeated 16 other candidates and garnered 53.9 percent of the vote, enough to render a runoff unnecessary.

DThe elections have generated an upsurge in violence triggered following the Constitutional Court’s rejection of former President François Bozizé’s candidacy on December 3. The court cited his failure to meet the constitution’s “good morality” requirement due to an international warrant and UN sanctions against him for his alleged involvement in assassinations, torture and other crimes during his tenure.

Following the announcement, Bozizé joined a coalition of armed groups, the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), some of whom were formerly part of the Séléka coalition which toppled him in 2013. They launched attacks on several towns outside of Bangui in an effort to force an election postponement and initiative a new round of peace talks.

Over the course of December, hundreds of civilians died, 30,000 were forced to flee into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while another 185,000  were internally displaced. Three UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) peacekeepers lost their lives in the violence.

To help quell the violence, CAR requested additional military assistance from Rwanda and Russia. Both sent troops and supplies in support of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), while France carried out flyover missions in the days preceding elections. CAR prosecutors have launched an investigation into Bozizé, who is accused of plotting the alleged coup.

Violence has escalated further since the announcement of Touadéra’s victory, with most of the opposition calling for the election results to be annulled citing voting irregularities and the fact that instability prevented many from casting their ballot. On January 13, the CPC launched a coordinated attack on the outskirts of Bangui before being pushed back by MINUSCA in fighting which killed one Rwandan soldier and several CPC fighters.

The election, which is only the second in the country’s history, was supposed to be an important milestone. However, this new round of violence has laid bare the deep flaws in the peace process and threatens to undo the tentative progress made towards stability since the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in February 2019.

If urgent action is not taken by international and regional actors to both address flaws in the peace process as well as some of the country’s deep structural drivers of conflict, CAR could slip into civil war in the coming months.

A cycle of violence

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, CAR’s political history has been punctuated by military rule, rebellion, and multiple coups against a backdrop of state disintegration, deep interethnic cleavages, and high levels of inter-communal conflict. The violence which was seen before, during, and following the December election is not unique, it is instead merely the latest expression of this long-running conflict.

Former President Bozizé seized power in a 2003 coup before being removed in 2013 by the Séléka: a coalition of predominantly Muslim armed groups, at least some of whom represented communities in northern CAR, who have historically been politically and economically disenfranchised. Following the rebellion, an opposing association of local Christian and animist self-defence groups, the “Anti-balaka”, engaged in retaliatory attacks, which escalated to the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population.

In the following years, the country was plagued by violence despite efforts to restore stability, including the deployment of a 12,800-strong UN peacekeeping force. After a two-year transition led by a temporary government, CAR returned to constitutional democracy with the election of Touadéra in February 2016.

The new president continued to engage in dialogue with former Séléka and Anti-balaka armed groups, who had by this time fragmented and reconfigured. In February 2019, the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation was signed between the government and the country’s 14 main armed groups.

Despite the political agreement, as well as the deployment of MINUSCA peacekeeping forces, the conflict has continued. The 2020 UN Panel of Experts’ assessment of the political agreement reported hundreds of violations and noted the continued exchange of accusations of reneged commitments by both the government and armed groups.

Since 2013, it is estimated that of the country’s population of roughly five million, about one in five people have been internally or externally displaced, thus creating the world’s highest humanitarian caseload per capita.

Outsourcing governance

There are a number of structural issues that keep CAR trapped within a cycle of conflict and underdevelopment. Multiple peace agreements have failed to address these deeper realities, and some have, at times, contributed to incentivising those who benefit from instability.

As outlined by Louisa Lombard, professor of anthropology at Yale University, rather than develop local government administration, French colonial officials leased CAR’s territories to private companies to run at their own profit or loss and to strike deals with local tribes to provide labour and security.

This system has effectively continued post-independence, whereby political elites in Bangui with little capacity, experience, or interest in extending governance beyond the capital, grant mining concessions to a range of international actors who rely on private military companies (PMCs) to facilitate transport and security without building out local government or infrastructure.

Basic services are mostly outsourced to the UN, European Union, and international NGOs and due to multiple coups, and in particular, Bozizé’s efforts to reduce the army to a presidential guard] to ward against coups, the state does not have a monopoly on the use of force in most of its territory.

Security has been privatised in a chaotic way by local leaders, clans, and militias, leaving communities to essentially fend for themselves. It has also provided ample opportunity for non-state actors to develop criminal enterprises in order to exploit the country’s vast natural resources.

Today, armed groups control most territory outside of the capital and there is little in the way of a social contract between citizen and state.

Militarisation of politics and peacemaking

In a closed political system, comprised of a small political elite in Bangui, violence has become a tried and tested route to power. Rebel leaders cycle between armed groups, which serve both as a vehicle for illicit criminal activity as well as helping to guarantee them a place on the political chessboard when the incitement of enough chaos forces the government into a political dialogue.

The state has a history of incentivising this behaviour by co-opting rebel leaders during political settlements in the interest of creating temporary peace, thereby rewarding those who make a living out of provoking insecurity. Most major peace agreements since 1997 have awarded government positions to rebel leaders.

The 2019 Political Agreement was no different. Like previous peace deals, it provided the leaders of signatory armed groups government posts. For example, three of them gained positions as “Special Military Advisors” to the prime minister to oversee the creation of Special Mixed Security Units (USMS) comprised of armed group combatants and Central African state forces.

After disagreements regarding the pay and titles of former combatants within the new USMS units, two of the three special military advisers – who are also leaders of the country’s two strongest armed groups – resigned, while the third used his status to continue the operations of his armed group and expand his territorial control.

Last month’s election was an attempt to move the country towards a more orderly political settlement, whereby leaders would represent a political base and have popular support to hold office. The armed groups can no longer be said to represent communities’ grievances and are widely despised by citizens. They are therefore reluctant to transform into legitimate political parties and by disrupting the elections, hope to return CAR to a state where, as political-military entrepreneurs, they can find themselves a seat at the table.

A playground for foreign actors

Adding complexity to finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in CAR are the large number of international and regional actors who have interests and influence in the country. Over the last 10 years, Chad, Angola, and most recently Sudan, have all played host to political negotiations between armed groups and the CAR government – each driven by their own geostrategic interests. The porous borders between the CAR and its neighbours have allowed for ethnic groups having strong cultural allegiance and economic ties outside of the country.

In recent years, Russia has stepped up efforts to support Touadéra’s government through the Wagner Group: a private security company closely connected to the Kremlin and often used by the Russian state as a proxy force when plausible deniability is necessary. The head of the Wagner Group in CAR was appointed national security adviser, affords President Touadéra personal protection services, and provides some training to FACA.

Russian interests in CAR seem to be both financial (acquiring access to diamonds, gold, and other mining contracts) and part of the country’s wider strategy in Africa, aimed at countering American influence and gaining greater African support for Russian initiatives at the UN.

France, which has historical ties with CAR, and contemporary economic and security interests in the country, continues to push back against Russian influence. Ahead of last month’s elections, rival French and Russian disinformation campaigns that sought to influence internet users in CAR emerged.

Facebook released a statement saying it had suspended over 100 accounts and pages for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” linked to CAR. One network was linked to “individuals associated with French military”, while another two had connections to “individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency” as well as Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group.

Charting a way forward

Escalating insecurity in CAR calls for a thorough review of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in order to determine whether it remains a relevant road map for peace and stability. If armed groups continue to refuse to transform into legitimate actors and can simply instigate violence as a means of political manoeuvring with little repercussion, a negotiated political process seems unlikely to work in the long term.

At the very least, MINUSCA should be strengthened and their mandate revised so they can take a more aggressive posture against those armed groups that continue to act as spoilers to peace. A more concerted effort is also required to train, equip, and expand CAR’s armed forces to the point where state authority may be reinstalled across wider regions of the country.

The international community must also face the reality that without significant investment in the economic development of CAR, the country may not ever be able to rise out of the cycle of conflict and poverty. This will require international community and influential regional actors to raise the interests of CAR above their own and work together in a transparent manner to support sustainable peace efforts.

The African Union (AU) should use CAR’s recent election as a case study in developing a typology of online disinformation strategies and countermeasures, in order to counter future attempts by foreign actors to influence African elections through online disinformation campaigns.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Stephen is a security analyst with several years of experience working in both conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa, primarily on issues of peace and security; transitional justice and reconciliation; democratisation and governance; and preventing and countering violent extremism. He currently serves as head of the Human Security and Climate Change (HSCC) project at Good Governance Africa and is a co-editor of the Extremisms in Africa anthology series.Climate Change (HSCC) project at Good Governance Africa and is a co-editor of the Extremisms in Africa anthology series.

Going deep into Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado extremism

To counter violent extremism in places such as Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado properly, it’s necessary to understand the root causes of such conflicts and how mining operations can worsen them

Since October 2017, Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique has been the site of an escalating insurgency, led by Islamist militant group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jammah (ASWJ), which has claimed the lives of about 1,500 people and displaced 310,000.

On August 12 militants captured the port of Mocímboa da Praia, 60km south of the Afungi peninsula, where major liquid natural gas (LNG) export facilities are being developed for offshore reservoirs, reviving concerns about the effect of the conflict on LNG projects.

Both the government and mining companies routinely emphasise the enormous economic opportunity the LNG projects will bring to Mozambique and the “trickle down” potential they have for communities in terms of “job creation, supply and associated services industries”.

In reality, however, mining operations have routinely failed to benefit local communities. Many such projects have created unmet economic expectations, generated human rights violations, reinforced ethno-religious inequalities and dispossessed local communities of their land.

In the case of Cabo Delgado, several analysts and President Filipe Nyusi himself have attributed the conflict to high levels of poverty and unemployment, and noted that these conditions are being exploited by foreign and local militants looking to recruit members. So rather than asking what impact the conflict will have on the LNG sector, we should ask what impact the LNG sector is having on local communities if we are to better understand how to prevent and counter violent extremism.

Unemployment and poverty alone do not predict the emergence of violent extremist organisations. Several studies show that relative deprivation, perceptions of marginalisation and discrimination, violation of human rights and a history of hostility between identity groups are far more relevant in predicting where such groups will emerge and how they will recruit from local populations.

But when mining companies enter regions where these issues are already present, they can greatly aggravate them.

The dark side of coal mining

In Mozambique’s coal-rich Tete province many of the local communities that were resettled due to mining operations have faced significant and sustained disruptions in obtaining food, water and work.

In 2015, Oxfam and the University of Queensland’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining published a study of the resettlement of 736 households (about 3,680 people) to make way for the Benga coal mine. It provides an insight into how poorly planned and chaotic these processes can be when there is a surge of foreign interest and competition that creates a context of rapid economic growth, limited regulatory capacity and intense pressure on land availability.

In 2011, Rio Tinto bought the mine for $3.7bn from Riversdale Mining. Three years later, after recognising an impairment of $2.86bn, it sold the mine to an Indian conglomerate for $50m — less than 1.35% of the original price. During this period, a poorly planned and chaotic resettlement process was forced upon local communities, with disastrous consequences.

The study found: “In addition to food and water insecurity and the loss of supplementary income, the stress and trauma associated with forced displacement has fractured social networks and eroded trust between community members, local leaders, and company and government representatives.

“Uncertainty about the future, limited access to information and deficiencies in remedy processes further diminish the likelihood of recovery in a low-capacity environment.”

Unsurprisingly, there have been several major protests by affected communities, many of them violent.

Ruby ructions in Montepuez

In April 2009 rubies were discovered near the city of Montepuez in Cabo Delgado. By the end of 2010 thousands of artisanal miners, or garimpeiros, were mining the deposits.

In June 2011, Mwiriti Limitada, a Mozambican company owned by army Gen Raimundo Pachinuapa, a senior member of ruling party Frelimo, and London-based Gemfields signed a 25%-75% joint venture agreement to form Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM).

MRM subsequently won mining rights to a 34,000ha concession.

Over the next three years, multiple instances came to light of artisanal miners allegedly being beaten, shot and buried alive by the Mozambican police, the country’s environment protection agency and private security companies.

There were also cases of local communities being forcibly removed from their land and of villages being razed to make way for MRM mining activities.

In 2018, while denying liability, Gemfields publicly recognised that “instances of violence have occurred on and around the MRM licence area, both before and after Gemfields’ arrival in Montepuez”.

The company then agreed to pay £5.8m to settle a case, brought before the London Supreme Court, in which 273 complainants alleged human rights abuses.

Back in Mozambique, there was little judicial action. The attorney-general announced an investigation, but it was never concluded. No serious steps were taken to seek justice for victims or to put policies in place to address the use of force against communities affected by the extractive industry.

Fallout in the Rovuma Basin

In 2010 significant deposits of high-quality natural gas were found off the coast of Cabo Delgado. Today the province is home to Africa’s three largest LNG projects: the $20bn Mozambique LNG Project led by Total; the $4.7bn Coral FLNG Project led by ENI and ExxonMobil; and the $30bn Rovuma LNG Project led by ExxonMobil, ENI and CNPC.

Hundreds of families have been forced to resettle away from their ancestral farmland and fishing grounds to make way for onshore support facilities for the projects.

A March 2020 report by environmental body Justiça Ambiental argues that the resettlement process was deeply flawed: communities were not adequately consulted, lacked knowledge about their rights and were too intimidated to voice discontent for fear of retribution.

Speculative investing in land in anticipation of the gas boom — often by Frelimo elites — has also fuelled resentment among villagers, who continue to lose access to land and sustainable livelihoods.

In rural areas particularly, land is inextricably linked not only to livelihoods but also to identity, culture and history.

Some of the strongest research on violent extremism, by scholars such as psychologist John Horgan, suggests that radicalisation is a process deeply connected with identity. In this context land dispossession may be particularly damaging to the psychological, social, and cultural resources that sustain a sense of wellbeing and bolster resilience to radicalisation.

The displacement and marginalisation of coastal communities in Cabo Delgado is especially concerning, given pre-existing ethno-religious fault lines.

The Cabo Delgado coastal zone has traditionally been occupied by the Muslim Kimwani-speaking people, who rely predominantly on trading, fishing and seafaring.

Many Muslims in the province backed Frelimo’s independence struggle against the Portuguese. However, since the first multiparty elections in 1994, Kimwani speakers have tended to vote for Renamo, and results in Mocímboa da Praia have been close.

As journalist Joseph Hanlon writes: “Local Muslim leaders have always been annoyed that their role in the independence struggle was not recognised, and they see the largely Christian Makonde speakers from Mueda and Muidumbe districts dominating Frelimo and moving into the coastal areas.”

Today, the Makonde form the local elite in Cabo Delgado, while the Kimwani-speaking people are among the poorest in the province and the most negatively affected by the LNG projects.

It is unlikely that the substantial number of jobs created by the LNG projects will go to local coastal communities, given low levels of formal education and the investment in training and support needed to equip community members with the requisite skills.

Any poverty reduction from jobs that do go to these communities has likely already been offset by the thousands of local citizens who have lost access to fishing grounds and small-scale agricultural production.

For communities living in the region, the security situation has deteriorated significantly over the past two years. Not only have they been victim to dozens of attacks by ASWJ, but the region has become highly securitised. Local communities report “living [in] constant fear of mistreatment by the military and by private security actors rather than feeling protected from the attacks”.

In late August, Total’s subsidiary in the region announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the government. The government will deploy a joint task force from the defence and security forces (FDS) to ensure security. In return, the Mozambique LNG project will provide logistical support to the FDS, including equipment and subsidies for troops.

As Mozambique’s Centre for Democratic Development notes: “In allowing the deployment of FDS troops to protect private interests in exchange for monetary payments, the government is privatising the FDS services and, consequently, violating the Defence & Security Policy.”

The FDS is already stretched beyond the point where it can effectively protect communities in Cabo Delgado.

While the defence of strategic interests is one of the fundamental roles of the ministry of defence, it is easy to see how this relationship between the military and LNG sector would be viewed differently by a local population exposed to violence at the hands of armed groups, private military companies and government security forces on a weekly basis.

The UN secretary-general’s plan of action to prevent violent extremism emphasises the need for a “whole of society” response, including sustainable development, humanitarian action and upholding human rights and the rule of law.

In Mozambique in particular, the mining sector has an outsized responsibility to prevent and counter violent extremism.

Mining companies will have to work with the government to tackle the grievances already generated by the sector — particularly around disputed resettlement processes and human rights violations — and work to address the underlying causes of extremism.

Natural gas revenues will only begin to accrue by 2024, so there is still time for Mozambique to prioritise sustainable development, inclusive growth and better policies to manage large extractive industry investments.

An Angolan scenario, where a political elite captures all the local content opportunities, will only serve to increase grievances and swell the ranks of the insurgency.

This article first appeared in the Financial Mail here

 

Stephen Buchanan-Clarke is a security analyst with several years of experience working in both conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa, primarily on issues of peace and security; transitional justice and reconciliation; democratisation and governance; and preventing and countering violent extremism. He currently serves as head of the Human Security and Climate Change (HSCC) project at Good Governance Africa and is a co-editor of the Extremisms in Africa anthology series.

Building Human Security in Times of Crisis

Traditional security thinking places the State as the primary entity which needs to be protected from external military threats. Territorial integrity is considered a fundamental value and any threats to it endanger national sovereignty. Security is seen as a zero-sum game, and the more a state invests in military capability, the more it guarantees its security.

As argued by Peoples and Williams (2015), this state-centric approach still largely determines how governments consider and practise security despite being wholly ill-suited to the modern challenges facing the well-being and survival of peoples and states today. These challenges are internal and transnational in nature, and include things such as disease epidemics, food scarcity, climate change and environmental degradation, disruptive 4IR technologies, mass illegal migration, and transnational crime.

As shown in Good Governance Africa’s (GGAs) Wicked Conversation blog series on the COVID-19 pandemic, in times of unique crisis and social unrest, as we are experiencing today, governments too often place their survival first, narrowing the security agenda, instead of widening it and building human security which centres the citizen.

This state-centric approach still largely determines how governments consider and practise security despite being wholly ill-suited to the modern challenges facing the well-being and survival of peoples and states today.

The same has been true in how states routinely react to the threat posed by violent extremism organisations (VEOs) and other non-state armed groups (NSAGs). Rather than appreciating that violent extremism is the product of deeper and more complex social and economic problems, as well as both international and transnational in nature, VEOs are treated as traditional security threats which can be defeated by overwhelming military force.

Over the last two decades, several major military interventions have sought to stem the spread of groups such as al Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS) and their affiliates, while an extensive web of conventions, laws, and institutions have proliferated to try and deny terrorist actors the ability to mobilize, finance, travel, communicate, and recruit. The estimated costs of the United States’ counterterrorism efforts alone since the al Qaeda-led attacks on 9/11 is around $6.4 trillion USD. While these interventions have had limited successes in certain contexts, overall they have failed to halt the spread of violent extremism and associated acts of terrorism either globally or in Africa primarily because they have sought to address the symptom and not the underlying problem.

In times of unique crisis and social unrest, as we are experiencing today, governments too often place their survival first.

Mozambique is a recent example. In response to a growing civil conflict in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province over the last three years, the government attempted to overwhelm the militants with force, jailed journalists, closed civil society spaces, and made it difficult for humanitarian workers to access communities most in need of food and medical support. The effect has been an almost complete closure of space for citizens to air their grievances in a non-violent manner, increased poverty and fragility, and a consequent surge in recruitment and deepening of the insurgency.

In August 2020, GGA published the third instalment of Extremisms in Africa, an anthology collection of 44 chapters with contributions from a variety of leading experts in their respective fields on understanding and addressing violent extremism and other non-state armed groups on the continent.

What became clear to us is that VEOs are just one set of actors among many which collectively determine the life cycle of a given conflict. They usually emerge and/or spread in regions where they are able to exploit extant political, social, and economic grievances which have already frayed the social contract, and where poor or absent governance, corruption, and access to illicit arms and financial flows allow them to operate with relative ease.

They usually emerge and/or spread in regions where they are able to exploit extant political, social, and economic grievances which have already frayed the social contract, and where poor or absent governance, corruption, and access to illicit arms and financial flows allow them to operate with relative ease.

In this respect, a single-minded focus on traditional counter-terrorism strategies is not a sustainable solution to The security agenda needs to be widened to take into account the many sources of insecurity facing communities in Africa today and consider aspects such as rule of law, human rights, and economic access.

There is often a resistance by states to thinking about terrorism in these terms because it forces governments to consider their own failings and responsibility for creating the conditions under which violent extremism thrives. As Galtung (1996) and many others have argued, states can act as primary sources of structural violence by imposing restrictions on civilians which oppress their human, political, and social rights in order to safeguard the state system.

A shift from state- and military-centric notions of security to a greater emphasis on human security is contingent on good governance, and in particular, good civil-military relations. These factors are both under threat today in the context of declining democracy on the continent. The overthrow of deeply unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita by Malian soldiers in August seems to be part of a recent increase in coups which have at first been  met with popular public support but quickly slide into unstable military dictatorships.

States can act as primary sources of structural violence by imposing restrictions on civilians which oppress their human, political, and social rights in order to safeguard the state system.

For military regimes, conflict resolution carries little inherent value and conflicts within their region are often considered purely in terms of how they might advance or hurt their interests, or how they could promote or undermine those of their rivals. This is antithetical to the type of regional cooperation needed to address modern transnational security challenges, and is deeply undermining the ability of our regional bodies to advance peace and security.

Over the course of the next eight weeks, GGA will be publishing a weekly blog series using this “wicked problem” lens highlighting chapters from the Extremisms in Africa anthology which speak to the complexity of preventing and countering violent extremism and offer solutions at the nexus of development, humanitarian action, and security.

A “wicked problem” is defined by Williams and Van ‘t Hof (2014) as a problem which has “multiple stakeholders involved in complex and unpredictable interactions.” This systems thinking perspective should encourage the reader to not only focus on the actions and motivations of the individual stakeholder (in this case the violent extremist actor) but the root causes of vulnerability, the linkages between multiple stakeholders within a conflict system at the local, national, and regional level, and how these constituent elements comprise the whole of the system.

A “wicked problem” is defined by Williams and Van ‘t Hof (2014) as a problem which has “multiple stakeholders involved in complex and unpredictable interactions.”

Chapters featured will include:

– Hybridity and Fragmentation: Implications for Regional Security Policy in the Sahel and Beyond – Bethany L.  Mcgann

– The Global Health Threat to Human Security: How Pandemics May Set the Scene for Bioterrorism – Craig Moffat

– The Potential Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Human and National Security in Africa – Futhi Luthango

– Using Evidence-Based Research to Directly Improve P/CVE Programming: A Case Study of a Social Network Analysis in Somalia – Fatma Ahmed, Laura Nettleton & Jem Thomas

– The Libya Crisis and the Need for African Ownership of Peace and Security Processes on the Continent – Lebogang Seshoka

– Neocolonial/Colonial Extremes: Defining Direct Colonialism, Reaction and Resistance in Contemporary Ambazonia and Western Sahara- Matt Meyer

– Fulani and Jihad: The Argument Against Simplistic Narratives in West Africa – Madeline Vellturo

– The Escalation of Extremist Violence in Southern Africa and the Need for More Collaborative Security Responses – Stephen Buchanan-Clarke

 

We’d love to hear from you! Join The Wicked Conversation by leaving your comments below, or send your letter to the editor to stephen@gga.org.

 

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STEPHEN BUCHANAN-CLARKE is an independent analyst with several years’ experience working in conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa on national security and development issues. He currently serves as Head of Programme for Good Governance Africa’s Human Security & Climate Change Programme, and has been involved in the editing of all three volumes of the Extremisms in Africa series, as well as authoring several chapters.
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