ABIDJAN, 14 November 2020 – The under-development of Africa’s Sahel region may be one of the unintended recruitment tool violent extremism often takes root, an African Development Bank (AfDB) expert has warned.
It is not surprising that regions with chronic food insecurity, especially in Africa, “become unstable sooner or later,” Khaled Sherif of the AfDB is cited by news reports as saying.
Khaled Sherif is Vice President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery at the AfDB.
Across the Sahel, millions of people who have little to no access to potable water, electricity, healthcare and education are more likely than less vulnerable people elsewhere to join an insurrection that says it is is protesting government neglect of their wellbeing.
Instead of resolving the problems, they are often made worse in the insecurity that reigns once government forces get on a war footing to try to defeat the insurgency.
More than 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in parts of the Sahel where violent extremism has taken the most hold, according to reports from humanitarian agencies.
The Sahel stretches from Senegal on the Atlantic coasts all the way through parts of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Sudan to Eritrea on the Red Sea coast.