Counter-Terrorism: Best Practices in North Africa and the Sahel
NATO Strategic Direction-South Hub (“the Hub”) hosted a live online Webinar on 24 November, 2020 at which it engaged and learnt from African experts sharing regional experience and audience comments. The discussion examined the root causes of terrorism and radicalization, the challenges of dealing with them at domestic and regional levels and the best practices in the region. While the panellists touched on matters related to the current situation, they also addressed the long-term implications of CT and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) measures as well as the possible role of the international community. Additionally, the dialogue included suggestions by the experts as to how NATO might support CT efforts in North African and Sahel nations.
Panellists discussed the threat of terrorism as well as the CT response strategies governments have taken, the ways these strategies have impacted terrorism on the ground, and their limitations. Political instability and conflict are facilitating the growth of terrorism and, in the long-term, future demographic, climatic and socio-economic changes in North Africa and the Sahel could affect the radicalization of the youth. Concerning the human security approach, the SMEs also shared experience regarding human rights violations, the lack of national and regional coordination and transnational issues.
Regional and global coordination and collaboration, (collaboration between NATO, the EU, the African Union and the countries in North Africa and the Sahel) were seen as the keys to success for Africa’s response to terrorism and long-term solutions for stabilization, peace, security and development. The experts suggested that NATO continue and improve their effort in supporting capacity building and the sharing of best practices. They also suggested that NATO enlarge its cooperation programs in the Sahel due to the violent extremist threat emanating from there, mentioning the need for improved coordination among the various international missions in place in the Sahel.