New UN Development Programme report findings challenge traditional assumptions about what drives people to violent extremism, and highlight urgent need to move away from security-driven responses to development-based approaches focused on prevention.
Hope for better jobs eclipses religious ideology as main driver of recruitment to violent extremist groups in Sub-Saharan Africa
February 8, 2023
New York, 7 February 2023— Hope of finding work is the leading factor driving people to join fast-growing violent extremist groups in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Among nearly 2,200 interviewees, one-quarter of voluntary recruits cited job opportunities as their primary reason for joining, a 92 percent increase from the findings of 40 percent also said they were in urgent need of livelihoods at the time of recruitment.
Religion came as the third reason for joining, cited by 17 percent — percent findings, with a majority of recruits admitting to having limited knowledge of religious texts.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has become the new global epicenter of violent extremism with 48% of global terrorism deaths in 2021. This surge not only adversely impacts lives, security and peace, but also threatens to reverse hard-won development gains for generations to come. Security-driven counter-terrorism responses are often costly and minimally effective, yet investments in preventive approaches to violent extremism are woefully inadequate. The social contract between states and citizens must be reinvigorated to tackle root causes of violent extremism,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said.
“Journey to Extremism in Africa: Pathways to Recruitment and Disengagement” draws from interviews with nearly 2,200
those who decide to disengage from violent extremism are less likely to re-join and recruit others. This is why it’s so important to invest in incentives that enable disengagement. Local communities play a pivotal role in supporting sustainable pathways out of violent extremism, along with national governments amnesty programmes,” UNDP Preventing Violent Extremism technical lead in Africa Nirina Kiplagat said.
is part of a series of three reports on the prevention of violent extremism, including the report, “Dynamics of Violent Extremism in Africa: Conflict Ecosystems, Political Ecology, and the Spread of the Proto-State” which analyses the latest dynamics of violent extremist groups in Sub-Saharan Africa and provides recommendations for specific development actions.
For more information, or to request an interview, please contact:
In New York HQ | Gabriela Goldman| firstname.lastname@example.org | +1 917 288 7900
In Addis Ababa | Ngele Ali | email@example.com | +251 901000962
In Amman | Noeman Alsayyad | firstname.lastname@example.org |+962 79 567 2901
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.
OSDG Initiative Recognized in Top 100 AI Projects for Advancing Sustainable Development Goals
The OSDG initiative, a collaborative effort between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and European research and policy analysis centre PPMI, has bee...
President of Tajikistan extends congratulations to UNDP on its 30th anniversary in the country
President Emomali Rahmon conveyed a congratulatory message to UNDP during the 23rd Session of the Tajikistan Investment Council, emphasizing the valuable role the...