Deprivation, marginalization and perceived state violence or abuse of power are pushing young Africans into the clutches of violent extremism, a groundbreaking study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reveals.
“This study sounds the alarm that as a region, Africa’s vulnerability to violent extremism is deepening,” Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UNDP Africa Director, said today at the launch of the report in New York.
“Borderlands and peripheral areas remain isolated and under-served. Institutional capacity in critical areas is struggling to keep pace with demand. More than half the population lives below the poverty line, including many chronically underemployed youth.”
Exploring the factors that shape the dynamics of the recruitment process, prompting some individuals to gravitate toward extremism, where the vast majority of others do not, the study Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment, also finds that many who joined faced marginalization and neglect over the course of their lives, starting in childhood.
With few economic prospects or outlets for meaningful civic participation that can bring about change, and little trust in the state to either provide services or respect human rights, the study suggests that such an individual could – upon witnessing or experiencing perceived abuse of power by the state – be tipped over the edge into extremism.