Despite the Greater Horn of Africa’s reputation as one of the most conflict-affected parts of the world, the rise of extremist political violence in recent years has led to a heightened sense of insecurity in the subregion. Observers have increasingly raised concerns about the subregion’s potential vulnerability to violent extremism and the ongoing threat posed by al-Shabaab in Somalia. Preventing and countering violent extremism (CVE) in the Greater Horn has become a key priority for a growing community of national, regional, and international stakeholders.

This report provides an overarching survey of regional and national drivers of violent extremism and other sources of insecurity in the Greater Horn, and provides an overview of responses by government and civil society actors in a subset of countries in the subregion: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.  Part of a broader program to strengthen regional CVE capacities supported by the U.S. Department of State, the report offers strategic and policy-related insights for CVE stakeholders and highlights the need for holistic strategies that support inclusive and sustainable responses to violent extremism.

While acknowledging the troubling evolution of violent extremism in the region over the past decade, the authors emphasize that drivers and conditions that contribute to violent extremism are not dissimilar to those that have long been recognized as drivers of other forms of political violence. Violent extremism in the Greater Horn of Africa, regardless of the identity or label applied to the perpetrators, is symptomatic of deeply complex and long-standing political, economic, and social problems. Accountable, people-centered and people-led governance; economic, political, and social inclusion; access to justice and effective avenues of redress; and equitable distribution of public goods lie at the heart of achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation and reducing susceptibility to violent extremist ideologies and organizations.

In conjunction with the Global Center’s 2015 report Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Community Resilience in the Greater Horn of Africa: An Action Agenda, this report provides crucial contextual insight to regional challenges and input to inform the design of more effective national initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism.

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