Sweden and the Netherlands partner with UNDP Africa on development response to growth of violent extremism

Dec 6, 2016

First Secretary Maria Lundberg and the Head of Section for Regional Development Cooperation Camilla Bengtsson from the Embassy of Sweden, and Regional Political Advisor Vincent Roza from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa’s Director a.i. Gerd Trogemann and Regional Programme Coordinator Mohamed Yahya.

The Governments of Sweden and the Netherlands have made financial contributions of USD 3.3 million and USD 800,000 respectively towards UNDP’s regional initiative on preventing and responding to the growth of violent extremism in Africa through a development lens.

The project also received an earlier contribution of USD 2 million from the Government of Japan.

“Violent extremism is an increasing threat to Africa’s development and has a devastating impact particularly on the lives of the most vulnerable, including women, youth and children,” said UNDP Africa’s Regional Programme Coordinator Mohamed Yahya. “The contributions enable UNDP Africa to respond to the immediate and underlying causes of violent extremism and also support the achievement of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.”

Launched in November 2015, the four-year USD 65.7 million project Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa: A Development Approach aims to address and prevent the root causes of violent extremism regionally and in various countries – those directly affected by violent extremist acts such as Kenya, Mali and Somalia, and those suffering the spillover effects, such as Cameroon and Chad.

At the regional level, UNDP Africa has started working with the African Union Commission to update their strategy on counter-terrorism.

The project is also working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Member States and the Government of Tanzania to develop a new prevention and counter violent extremism (PVE/CVE) strategy. IGAD Member States include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. National consultations have been completed and more than 500 people were interviewed for the strategy.

Work has also started on strengthening community resilience to violent extremism in Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.

Violent extremism has had a devastating social and economic impact across Africa. UNDP research shows that some 33,000 people have lost their lives in terrorist attacks in the last five years. Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Shabaab in Somalia have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, increasing instability in the regions in which they are present.

The UNDP Africa regional initiative is a result of expert consultations with partners including the African Union, IGAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), faith groups, civil society organisations, funding partners and other United Nations entities. It is in line with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism which was launched in January 2016.