Counterterrorism Perspectives in West Africa

Counterterrorism Perspectives in West Africa

21-23 June 2022

West African countries are facing ever-growing and adaptive terrorist threats that are transnational in nature and among the prime sources of conflict and instability in the region. These threats require national, regional, and inter-agency responses.

In its twenty-eighth report (2021), the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the United Nations Security Council described Africa as the region most affected by terrorism, and subsequently, in its twenty-ninth report (2022), the Monitoring Team underlined that terrorist groups in West Africa appear to have made decisive progress by exploiting local grievances, overwhelming stretched security forces, and navigating complex interrelationships between armed groups.

In this context, the Capacity-Building in the West Africa Region Working Group (WAWG) Co-Chairs, Algeria and Germany, held the second Plenary Meeting under their current mandate in Accra, Ghana.  They brought together a range of policymakers and practitioners—GCTF Members, GCTF Inspired Institutions, United Nations entities, GCTF non-member countries, international organizations, and civil society representatives—to discuss further enhanced capacity building and cooperation related to counterterrorism in West Africa. Participants identified regional approaches and perspectives and explored ways to strengthen cooperation and experience sharing, as well as raising ongoing challenges and emerging concerns related to preventing and countering terrorism across the region.

Evaluating Efforts and Forward Planning
The three-day Plenary Meeting served two objectives. On the one hand, it contributed to assessing activities carried out by the WAWG under its 2019-2022 Work Plan. On the other hand, it provided an opportunity to exchange experiences related to needs and challenges in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism in the West African context to inform forward planning for this GCTF Working Group.

The discussions centered around the WAWG focus areas, which include enhancing international police cooperation, border security management, countering terrorist financing and preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons, IEDs, ammunition and UAS (unmanned aerial systems).

By bringing together GCTF Members and regional voices, Algeria and Germany are driving forward the work of the WAWG in a consultative and collaborative manner.