Identifying the Key Counterterrorism Capacity Needs in West Africa

Identifying the Key Counterterrorism Capacity Needs in West Africa

11-13 June 2024

The West Africa Capacity-Building Working Group (WA WG) Co-Chairs, Algeria and Germany, hosted the WA WG’s Fifth Plenary Meeting in Cotonou, Benin from 11 to 13 June 2024, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as their implementing partner.

In February 2024 Algeria and Germany were acclaimed by the GCTF Members for a new two-year term as the Co-Chairs of the WA WG from September 2024 to August 2026. The meeting therefore brought together regional and international partners to consult on the priority areas for counterterrorism capacity-building in the region for the coming two years.

West African State officials from the judiciary, intelligence, security, and law enforcement sectors were present as well representatives of civil society organizations, regional cooperation mechanisms, national fusion centers, and international organizations. Participants engaged in rich discussions on the current nature of the terror threat in the region, as well as their experiences with a focus on the key challenges to effective counterterrorism responses to the region-specific threats.

Key priorities that emerged for counterterrorism capacity-building in West Africa are: Countering the finance of terrorism (CFT), preventing and countering terrorist groups’ use and acquisition of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and border security and management (BSM). Community engagement and resilience, mainstreaming gender and human rights in counterterrorism efforts, and national and regional cooperation emerged as essential cross-cutting priorities to be integrated in all counterterrorism responses relating to three priority areas identified.