Afro-European partnership for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency in Africa
The European Union has played a decisive role in the throes and fights against terrorism and insurgency in Africa, the rationale behind the EU engagement with Africa in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency can be viewed from its commitment to global peace and security and its strategic economic interest. This is so because Africa is seen as incapable ot protecting their huge investments in Africa. More so, Africa also needs Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from industrialist Europe and across the globe to foster the much-desired economic growth and development. The EU intervention is thus predicated on the recognition that without peace and security, the African economic environment would discourage requisite foreign capital and investments from engendering economic growth and sustainable development.
Counterterrorism requires enormous reliance on intelligence and counterintelligence measures, technical training to the military forces, military equipment such as fighter jets, amour tanks, anti-bomb devices and surveillance and the likes."'’ The central goals ot counterterrorism are prevention, disruption and pre-emption ot terrorist activities and network. (Imobighe & Eguavon, 2016). The EU’s commitment to combating terrorism in Africa was an offshoot of the 2000 Cotonou Agreement with Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Countries (ACP) which grew out of the 1975 Lome Convention. Africa-EU relations are framed by the Joint Africa- EU Strategy (JAES) adopted by 80 African and European Heads of States and Government of the Lisbon Summit in 2007. This strategy revolves around Africa-EU partnership, with a political framework which defines bilateral relations. Its cardinal goal is a partnership between equals that will jointly tackle issues of mutual concerns (European External Action, 2016). This commitment was reaffirmed at the 4th EU-Africa summit held in April 2014 in Brussels which focused on counterterrorism and the attainment ot national, regional, and global peace and security. In adopting its 2014—2017 road map, the Brussels summit focused on cooperation in ‘strategic fire areas’; peace and security, democracy, good governance and human rights, human development, sustainable growth and development and continental integration, and emerging global issues.
The EU contributed tremendously to countering terrorism and insurgency effort in Africa. Consequent upon the massive terrorist attacks in Europe, the United States and Africa, by Islamic fundamentalist, the European Union produced counterterrorism strategy underlined the need tor intensified regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism globally. European
Union made counterterrorism an essential element of its political dialogue with the regional organisation and states Africa. The European Union (EU) counterterrorism strategy adopted in 2005 was based on four main stands: prevention, protection, tracking and response (European Parliamentary Research Services, 2016). These were the pillars in which counterterrorism effort in Africa and other parts of the world were built.
The EU in its commitment to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency in Africa budgeted 750 million pounds between 2014 and 2016 tor African Peace Facility which served to provide much of the funding for African led peacekeeping operations as well tor operationalising the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) (European External Action, 2016)." This initiative helped profoundly to improve Africa’s capacities and mechanism to prevent and manage conflicts and crisis within the African region. The beneficiaries of this fund were the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the African led International support mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA). The European Union’s strong commitment to counterterrorism in Africa was noticeable in its financial and technical assistance to Nigeria in the Fight against the Boko-Haram sect in the Northeast of Nigeria. Other areas of service include, but not limited to, intelligence gathering and coordination."' The E.U in February 2016 pledged 50 million dollars as support Nigeria and the African Union against the Boko- Haram as well as continuous support for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria (Achibong, 2016).
This support came at a time ot renewed efforts by the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin to neutralise the threat posed by the Boko-Haram terrorist sect tor the rehabilitation of the affected areas by the activities ot the terrorist group as well as the construction of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquarters in Ndjamnewa, the Chadian capital. Boko- Haram attacks on the civilian population have led to the destruction of lives and properties. Indeed, over 20,000 people have been killed, while over 2.5 million people are homeless. During the 6th Nigeria-EU ministerial dialogue, the EU Vice President, Federica Mogherini pledged a continuous EU support on the fight against Boko- Haram, humanitarian and economic development and reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure in the North-East (Udo, 2017).
The EU’s strategy for security and development in the Sahel formulated in 2012 is based on securitisation and socio-economic development of the countries in the Sahel region. The link between security and development agendas has been fundamental to the various EU policies, for example, the Joint African-EU Strategy of 2007,"° which has been revised strongly than the EU-ACP Cotonou Partnership Agreement since 2000. The EU has been at the forefront of ensuring peace and security in Africa partly because of its strategic economic interest ot its member states in the continent and coupled with the general commitment to world peace and security. The EU envisaged the need for good governance through democratic principles and socio-economic development in Africa in ensuring peace and stability. This is because many violent conflicts in Africa emanated from bad governance, lack ot political participation, abuse of power, absence of democratic principles and socio-economic exclusion ot groups that constitutes minority in their country. EU member countries have investments across African states, ranging from engineering, communication, banking, agrochemical, transportation, to mention a few."
The European Union recently proposed and approved 44 billion Euro investments for Africa and the Mediterranean as part of the European Investment Plan aimed at helping to fight illegal migration. The plan is an innovative new youth investment plan for Africa, considering the illegal migration and the growing radicalisation of able youths in the continent (Mogherini, 2016). The fund was partly to help private sector players to invest in fragile states and contribute to the fight against poverty by creating opportunities for young people especially in the African continent for the promotion of peace, economic growth and development. The EU has also contributed immensely in the area of women empowerment, reduce girls and gender-based violence under the European Investment for Democracy and Human Rights and its contribution to the Global Partnership on Education (GPE) that supports increased access to education in the region (Andrew, 2016). This is aimed at preventing terrorism and insurgency while simultaneously strengthening capacities in the strategic countries in Africa.
The EU offered counterterrorism training to help East African security agencies to improve cross-border investigations and prosecution in areas vulnerable to Al-Shabaab terrorist sect." The training benefits countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, DjiBouti, South Sudan and Yemen, which cost about 12 million dollars. The training also straddles the local law enforcement agencies and judiciaries on how to carry out cross-border investigations and construct criminal prosecution (Reuters, 2015). EU Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership established in 2008 funded and implemented a multi-layered effort to build capacity and cooperation, using the military, law enforcement and civil rule across North and West Africa to counterterrorism.'’ Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries belong to the Inter- Governmental Action Group against money laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force body.' This integrated body of ECOWAS was designed to track the financial of crimes and funds linked to terrorist groups. Other Regional bodies of this task force the Middle East North Africa Financial Action (MENAFATF), Groupe d’Action Countre La Afrique Countrale (GABAC) and East and Southern Africa Anti-money laundering Group.
The EU provided intelligence support to track any suspected money laundering act by individuals alleged to have a link with any terrorist group in the world. The EU also supports African countries in strengthening their judicial system. " The EU factually financed three projects in Nigeria in the value of 98 million Euros to support justice, anti-corruption and drug abuse through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The EU also signed 35 million Euros Financial Agreement with Nigeria to consolidate the government’s effort in preventing and fighting corruption/' The Beneficiaries of the above projects include Bureau of Public Procurement, Code of Conduct Bureau/ code of conduct Tribunal, Public Complaints Commission, EFCC, National Financial Intelligence Unit, Special Control Unit against Money laundering and technical unit on governance and anti-corruption reforms. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2017).34
The study has thus far explained terrorism and insurgency in Africa and the role the EU has played in countering the phenomenon in Africa. The study also describes the root causes of terrorism and the rationale behind its spread and inter-governmental effort in combating terrorism in the case of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko- Haram in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The EU underlined the need for good governance, the rule of law and promotion of sustainable development policies, political participation, education and socio-economic inclusion of minority groups that make up a nation in the prevention of terrorism and insurgency in Africa and indeed, the world at large.
It has been established in this paper that insurgency and violent crimes in Africa are products of social and economic deprivations, poverty, oppression, underdevelopment, and the growing wings of religious crises. Insurgency and violent conflict historically emanated from the above factors and metamorphosed into terrorism as seen in Somalia, Algeria, Mali and Egypt which saw Islamic Brotherhood and the insurgent groups employed act of terror to achieve a political objective. Military operation alone cannot solve the problem. Eliminating the head of a terrorist group without destroying their ideology would always end in fiasco. There is need for a more holistic international and regional cooperation as well as the promotion ot good governance, the rule of law, transparency and accountability as well as socio-economic growth and development to reduce poverty in the region and across the globe tor the realisation of sustainable peace and enduring stability.
Considering the above, we propose the following recommendations. African governments must, as a matter of urgency, address socio-economic challenges bedevilling all African states virtually. The creation of economic opportunities and wealth are the cardinal responsibilities of nations. Policies that will aid economic growth and development must be encouraged to create job opportunities for the teeming youths that can be easily brain-washed by terrorists and insurgent warlords to perpetrate a crime against their states and beyond with mundane inducement. Good governance is sin-qua-non to development. Poor leadership in Africa has contributed immensely to the continent’s underdevelopment. There is a need tor quality governance with adequate knowledge and a good sense of service to their people. Corruption has become a norm in many African states, and this has undermined the much-desired growth and development. Finally countering terrorism requires decisive and formidable leaders at EU, UN, ECOWAS, and states’ platform.
There is also an urgent need for African states to embrace democratic principles and the rule of law, it will go a long way in addressing social injustice, lack of political participation and abuse of power, given that socio-economic and political exclusion of groups has led to an uprising in many African countries since independence. Religious tolerance, respect for people’s culture and beliefs will help in addressing the issues ot terrorism globally. The idea of imposing a particular religion, ethics, or culture on a group or nation should be de-emphasised and de-programmed from the psyche of Muslim political elites across Africa. This will promote peaceful co-existence among people irrespective of their race, religion, and cultural affiliation. There is need to demilitarise the counterterrorism approach to be able to appeal to the conscience of the insurgents. Emphasis should fundamentally be on good governance, social justice, and religious tolerance, promotion of democratic principle, dialogue, and the rule of law.