Journey to extremism in Africa

Jun 12, 2018

UNDP Africa’s seminal report on “Journey to extremism in Africa” was presented in Addis Ababa today. According to the study, between 2011 and 2016, over 33,000 fatalities in Africa are said to be caused by extremism.

The report highlighted the root causes of violent extremism in Africa and its destabilizing impact on the continent, and stressed the need for countries to stop automatically looking towards military operations as the best approach.


“Violent extremism is posing a challenge to the development gains enjoyed by many countries in Africa and threatens to stunt development outcomes for generations to come if left unchecked” reflected UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie.


UNDP’s intervention in this area in Africa was said to be led by three main reasons:


     I.        First, violent extremism is seen to seriously stunt growth and development in Africa, after a brilliant economic renewal since the start of the millennium. 

   II.        Second, the responses to violent extremism, so far, have been heavily tilted towards military and security operations; and with limited effectiveness. 

 III.        Third, past intervention by UNDP and other development practitioners has been lacking perceptiveness due to an absence of a cohesive framework that could guide responses. 


UNDP Africa’s Regional Programme on “Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism,” launched in 2016 is looking at the root causes to help Africa frame an informed structured policy and programmatic response. 


UNDP Africa’s Regional Programme Coordinator, Mr. Mohamed Yahya’s presentation highlighted the report’s findings, central of which was that violent extremism ideologies present themselves where there is injustice and desperation.


UNDP’s  study provides guidance on addressing extremism through a set of policies and programmes  including: delivering on global human rights commitments; reinvigorating state legitimacy through improved governance and accountability; connecting PVE with peacebuilding and sustainable development frameworks; coordinating  national, regional and global responses to violent extremism; strengthening  the vertical and horizontal social contrac; investing tremendously on education and youth employment; and ensuring that macroeconomic policies, the national budget, public expenditures and official development aid ( ODA) are PVE- sensitive.  


In 2015, UNDP developed an Africa-wide initiative, Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa: A Development Approach. Through the initiative, UNDP helps to enhance PVE interventions and contribute to improve understanding and knowledge about the issue by working with national governments and stakeholders, regional institutions, faith-based institutions, civil society.

Read study

UNDP Around the world