The spillover effects point to the urgent need for collective action to address security challenges, particularly terrorism, in Africa. This can be done at the bilateral, regional, continental, and global levels.
Neighbouring countries could consider actively supporting affected countries to fight terrorism before directly suffering its consequences. An illustration of this bilateral approach is the deployment of Rwanda Defence Force in 2021 in the Cabo Delgado province of northern Mozambique to fight terrorism, then followed by the deployment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force.
Regional security mechanisms are much needed. In West Africa and the Sahel, such mechanisms include the G5 Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S), the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) fighting Boko Haram-affiliated groups, the Accra Initiative, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Standby Force. However, given the multiplicity and overlapping memberships of regional communities or mechanisms, rationalisation and consolidation should be prioritised to eradicate resource wastage due to costly duplication, fragmentation, or lack of coordination of activities. Effective participation by neighbouring countries, not currently facing terrorist attacks, should also be sought.
At the continental level, accelerated revitalisation and operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is needed, including expedited and pragmatic implementation of the 0.2% levy on eligible imports to increase the African Union’s financial autonomy. This would help ensure that the Union is successful in its pursuit of “African solutions to African problems”, in collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities, Regional Mechanisms, and the International Community.
Collective action is also needed to support national efforts aimed at tackling terrorism-supporting activities such as organised crime networks, which can help finance terrorism by engaging in money laundering, cybercrime, or trafficking in people, drugs, weapons, and cultural objects. By curbing financial support to terrorism, international cooperation can weaken the ability of terrorists to operate and reduce the frequency and prevalence of terrorist attacks.
Finally, African countries must address the root causes of terrorism in the longer term by committing to socioeconomic progress and shared prosperity for all citizens. This will include embracing bold governance reforms, aimed at strengthening public financial management, promoting transparency and accountability in public service delivery, and fighting corruption.
Source: Centre for Economic Policy Research