The international community should focus on the prevention of terrorism in Africa by investing in young people and addressing key factors including employment, poverty, and education, UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.
“Development is the best prevention for violent extremism and for terrorism and we need to mobilise much more international support,” to help meet the sustainble development objectiuves of the UN, Mr. Guterres told reporters at the opening of the African Regional High-level Conference on Counter-Terrorism at the UN complex in Nairobi, Kenya
“It is also very important to prevent violence extremism by creating conditions for youth to fully participate in our societies. Participate in the labour market – job creation is an absolute priority – and to participate in our political life, social life, to have a voice that is heard,” he added.
Mr. Guterres also emphasised the need for greater financial support from the international community and clearer mandates in the on-going fight against terrorism on the African continent.
“I do believe that we need African forces in peace enforcing and counter terrorism operations to be much for effectively supported than in the past,” he said. “For terrorism to be defeated, it needs strong financial support, backed by respect for human rights and strong political will.”
The international community must step up their support for African-owned and African-led efforts in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
Fighting terrorism & preventing extremism in Africa is essential to preserve peace & security in the world. pic.twitter.com/3Ia1sq8a2i
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 10, 2019
The two day conference brings together more than 1200 participants from 100 countries, including Ministers, policy-makers, civil society representatives, and heads of security and counter-terrorism agencies, as well as regional and international organisations.
The conference intends to create a space for African countries to share their experiences, good practices and lessons learned in tackling terrorism and violent extremism, including by adopting comprehensive and inclusive whole-of-society approaches.
This year around a dozen African countries, including Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, and Somalia, have suffered terror attacks in which have left hundreds of civilians killed.
Militant Islamist groups including Boko Haram, ISIS, and al Shabaab have a presence in Africa, and have engaged in 3,050 violent events in 2018—a record level of activity – according to the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies.