Youth unemployment is the most common driver of vulnerability to violent extremism and radicalisation in Northern Regions of Ghana – New UNDP Ghana Report

June 30, 2023

Young people in Ghana at UNDP's Youth Connekt programme.


new UNDP study that analysed the drivers of vulnerability to violent extremism and radicalization in the five Northern Regions of Ghana revealed youth unemployment as the most common driver. 

The study, which adopted a mixed method approach for data collection including a survey of close to 1400 respondents, assessed specific vulnerabilities of individuals, groups, and communities to being radicalised towards eventual violent extremism.

The report titled “Vulnerability Assessment on the Threats of Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in Northern Regions of Ghana, calls for targeted interventions to address the persisting socio-economic challenges and development gap that has generated a sense of exclusion, marginalization, and anger among the largely unemployed youth. According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the national youth unemployment rate for young adults of 15-24 years, is about 32.8 percent and in this age category, the average unemployment rates are much higher in some of the northern regions, with Upper East region having 39 percent, Savannah region 38.2 percent, and North East, 34.7 percent.

The peace Ghana enjoys cannot be taken for granted. It requires diligence and sustained efforts by state and non-state actors based on evidence. This collaborative research, and collective intelligence has helped to co-create solutions with communities at risk. Now that we have the evidence, it is important to get our policies and programming right to prevent violent extremism”, noted Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana.

Other major drivers and pathway to radicalism, according to the report, are political vigilantism, farmer-herder conflicts, and easy availability of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). In addition, the report cited access to the internet and social media as another important factor influencing religious radicalization of the youth.

The report identified community engagement, interventions for vulnerable youth, efforts to counter online extremism, and attempts to deracialize through religious and other available forms of counselling, as catalysts for building resilience. It recommends youth empowerment, border security management, monitoring abuse of social media, and operationalization of Ghana’s counter-terrorism framework, as critical in addressing the threats of violent extremism and radicalisation in Ghana.  

The study builds on UNDP’s pioneering global reports on the “Journey to Extremism in Africa: Pathways to Recruitment and Disengagement” in 2023 and the first "Journey to Extremism in Africa" report in 2017.

The ‘Vulnerability Assessment on the Threats of Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in Northern Regions of Ghana’ report can be accessed here:




For more information and media enquiries, please contact: 

Ms. Praise Nutakor - Head of Communications and Partnerships, UNDP Ghana, Email: ; Tel: +233-501323566