The dynamics of youth radicalisation in Africa: reviewing the current evidence

2016-09-12

Youth radicalisation towards violent extremism is a global phenomenon that threatens peace, security and stability. This paper reviews the evidence on the factors that may contribute to the dynamics of youth radicalisation in Africa. 

Available findings from East Africa and the Horn of Africa, West Africa and the Sahel, and North Africa are used to understand the dynamics that may contribute to radicalisation and, potentially, to violent extremism. Many factors emerge including political, economic, social and individual factors. Religion, identity and gender also arise as topics for further analysis.

Youth radicalisation is a complex phenomenon that cannot be attributed to any one explanation or set of factors. This paper recognises these complexities, offers recommendations and identities additional issues that should be explored further.


About the authors 

Raeesah Cassim Cachalia is a junior researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime division of the ISS and previously worked with the Civilian Secretariat for Police. Her areas of interest include terrorism, human rights and international criminal justice, specifically on North Africa. Raeesah holds a BA in international relations and a LLB from the University of Pretoria and is currently pursuing an LLM in human rights law.

Uyo Salifu joined the ISS in 2012 as a researcher. Before joining the ISS, she worked at the Institute for Global Dialogue and the University of Pretoria. Uyo holds an MA in international relations from the University of Pretoria. Her areas of work centre on counter terrorism in West Africa, the prevention of violent extremism and the protection of witnesses to serious crimes.

Irene Ndung’u is a researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime division of the ISS. She previously worked as a research fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Irene has an MA in international relations from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her areas of interest include countering violent extremism and security, focusing on the gender dimensions of violent extremism in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

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