This paper analyses data from three regional “hotspots” of violent extremism in sub-Saharan Africa: Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region; Ansar Dine, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al Mourabitoun (among others) in the Sahel; and Al Shabaab in the Horn of Africa. It suggests that security-related issues are a priority for citizens of countries that have experienced high levels of extremist activity. However perceptions of problems varied widely by country.
Afrobarometer’s Round 6 surveys in 2014/15 asked security-related questions in several countries that have experienced growth in violent extremism in recent years. Security-led approaches have largely failed to contain the geographic footprint of violent extremisms in sub-Saharan Africa, and this has prompted the emergence of more development-orientated approaches, such as CVE and PVE.
Across 36 countries surveyed in 2014/15, about one in five citizens cited security-related issues as one of the three most important problems facing their country. The proportion of citizens who cited security among the top three national problems was significantly lower in Cameroon, Niger and Uganda than elsewhere.