The European Union Delegations to Mozambique and South Africa, the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) co-organised on 27 November in Pretoria, South Africa, a well-attended one day Seminar on Addressing the Threat of Violent Extremism in Southern Africa.
The seminar gathered academics, security experts, government officials and practitioners from the region to debate the threat of violent extremism in Southern Africa and to identify measures how to combat terrorism and violent extremism in the region. The seminar was funded by the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and was also supported by the Finnish Presidency of the Council.
Southern Africa has been one of Africa's least touched regions in relation to terrorism, but it is not immune to violent extremism. Since 2017, a still largely unknown group of insurgents has conducted numerous deadly attacks in Northern Mozambique, resulting in several hundred casualties and thousands of displaced persons. While violent extremism is not yet a serious regional problem, there is a clear need to swiftly put in place prevention and mitigation strategies throughout the region to avoid spill-over effects.
The EU can play an important role in helping the countries in Southern Africa to have a coordinated and integrated approach in dealing with crises. This approach should include supporting the resilience of local populations, promoting the involvement of the private sector and civil society and stepping up regional cross-border cooperation.