Obama’s recent trip to Africa has made headlines far and wide. Perhaps less publicized, is his endorsement for a counter-terrorism plan, projected at $465 million. Many African regions have faced continual and extreme conflict, and such investments could help alleviate it.

The money would go towards training, equipment, and the development of partners in Africa. The increased funding would contribute to an increase in foreign aid spending in Africa for counter-terrorism from about $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion. So far, Congress seems to be overwhelmingly supportive while the Senate seems much more tentative and resistant due to oversight issues.

With the increase in the conversation of the threats from the Islamic State, the U.S is looking to actively prevent ISIS from gaining more power particularly in Africa, where vast human capital and a large amount vulnerable people could be easily taken advantage of, which poses serious risks for global security. With such an evident risk posed by ISIS, there is a need to rapidly develop and implement the counter-terrorism programs, but we need to be sure not to overlook managerial and organizational importance in the name of speed and anxiety.

The widespread poverty and general weak governmental systems in many of the eastern and sub-Saharan regions create high susceptibility for terrorism and extremist recruitment. The weakened structures and overall perceived lack of opportunity in such areas make it easier for such violent groups to gain strength, with the potential to overthrow governments and take hold of the people. With such broad and grave consequences, counter-terrorism is an essential investment. Counter-terrorism efforts not only help to keep development efforts in place and working but also help to decrease threats to U.S national security.

Emma Dowd

Sources: The Hill, Washington Post
Photo: Flickr