Africa’s geopolitical issues exploited by terror groups


Jean-Marie Guéhenno, president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group, believes that the type of geopolitics being seen now is very different from those experienced in the past.

(READ MORE: Africa has powerful geopolitical demographics)

He added that one of the major problems in Africa is that the conflicts, which are usually driven by local factors, are now being exploited by these terrorist groups.

“Look at northern Mali – for decades there had been problems, not just between north and south Mali, but within northern Mali,” Guéhenno said.

“Now, you have terrorist groups, international franchises, so to speak, which are going to piggy-back [and] exploit and manipulate those conflicts. You used to have local conflicts that stayed local. Now they’ve become part of a bigger story.”

Guéhenno also stated that governments often neglect the politics of these issues. With regards to Boko Haram in Nigeria, he said that although a security response in needed, one also needs to look at the politics of the matter.

“Those conflicts do not happen out of nowhere, they are in part the result of grievances that have not been addressed, bad governance. So any effective strategy to address those conflicts has to be comprehensive, not just military,” he said.

(READ MORE: Financial markets keep geopolitical tensions at bay)

Guéhenno further stated that Nigeria’s response to the Boko Haram terror attacks have been restricted.

“The real issue in many parts of Nigeria, where Boko Haram is active, is that there are issues of governance that have not been addressed. If you just try the military option and you don’t do it in an effective way, then you have the situation that you have now.”

He added that a solution to this issue does not lie in elections but in developing a broad consensus to address the issue.