Rethinking International Counterterrorism Assistance to the Greater Horn of Africa: Toward a Regional Risk Reduction Strategy

Author : Matthew Schwartz, Liat Shetret, and Alistair Millar
Date : December 2013

The Horn of Africa has long been a recipient of foreign security assistance, with significant funds increasingly devoted to supporting subregional civilian-oriented counterterrorism efforts over the past decade. Despite efforts to better coordinate delivery, counterterrorism programming in the subregion generally remains fragmented, short-term, and siloed in implementation. This article argues that it is time to rethink the international community’s approach to counterterrorism assistance to the Horn of Africa and calls for a cohesive regional approach that not only bridges the gap between security and development, but also the gap between counterterrorism and human security. It emphasizes that the international community must not only better coordinate existing streams of counterterrorism assistance to the region, but also rethink how this assistance is designed and the ways it can be delivered to complement broader subregional development and security agendas. After a brief introduction to international counterterrorism assistance to the Horn of Africa, the article examines linkages across three thematic streams of programming being delivered to the subregion: anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism; criminal justice capacity building assistance to counter terrorism; and, countering violent extremism. This discussion will highlight the need for a regional risk reduction strategy for the Horn of Africa that not only builds on the interplay of different streams of counterterrorism assistance, but on synergies across broader subregional development and security agendas as well.

Download Publication