The challenges facing the implementation of UN global counterterrorism strategy in Africa

The challenges confronting the implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy and the stumbling blocks on the way of transforming the abstract concepts of the plan into the real-life situation in Africa are numerous and interwoven.

Deconstructing the "Four Pillars"

Pillar I—Addressing Conditions that are Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

Pillar I is also part of “including the roles that conflict, underdevelopment, education, culture, and the needs of victims can play in combating or inciting terrorism” (Stanley Foundation, 2007:22—23).

Conflict and underdevelopment

The old saying that a hungry man is an angry man certainly applies to the fact that there is a direct link between conflict and development. Poverty, economic downturn and relative deprivation can trigger war and as a consequence, engender a breeding ground tor terrorist recruitment. However, studies abound pointing to no direct evidence linking any single socioeconomic demographic to the development of terrorist groups. But in the final analysis, these factors can be an enabling environment for terrorist groups to thrive. So, the UN must address these issues on time.

Education, religion and culture

Religious education is fundamental to weaken terrorist tendencies in youths. Religious education includes spiritual teachings and learnings that eschew extremist rhetoric, dispelling misconceptions about proselytising and religious interpretation. Adamawa Peace Initiative (API) has demonstrated to be a success story of inter-civilisation dialogue in Nigeria that can be replicated on a sub-regional basis. Participants from different religious background congregate on sharing best practices in peaceful coexistence with the principle of “live and let’s live.” The issue of semantics, perhaps also has a lot to do with the fight against radicalisation. Several instances have shown the government’s use of language can go a long way in exacerbating the existing problem such as stereotyping terrorist fighters as “jihadists” and using hyperboles like “Great Satan,” “Axis of Evil”, and “Evil Empire” to describe adversaries.

One area where CTITF and UNESCO can make a huge difference is in producing educational materials and disseminating them via a variety of media sources in fighting against radicalisation and extremist ideology. Without any doubt, education plays a pivotal role in confronting religious intolerance, human rights monitoring, cross-cultural literacy and anticorruption efforts, and all require some knowledge on the part of the citizenry.

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