Asked by George Macharia, from University of Nairobi
Terrorism in the Horn of Africa is a complex problem that requires a "full spectrum" solution. The first step in any counterterrorism campaign is developing an understanding of the terrorists' motivations and goals. In the Horn of Africa, the chief terrorist threat emanates from al-Shabab fighters attempting to violently overthrow the Somali government and impose fundamentalist Islamic law. The group and its affiliates are also attempting to sow unrest in neighboring countries like Kenya.
"The fighting has already claimed thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilian lives. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have fled into the bush or returned to home villages, according to the UN. The official death toll of 500, which corresponds with the number of dead in a single Juba hospital six days ago, is being dismissed by experts."
"Unemployment, at nearly 25% of the workforce, is higher than it was when Mr. Mandela took office in 1994. If the two million or so adults who have given up looking for work are included, the jobless rate rises to 37%. The economy is growing too slowly to create many jobs, even as much of the rest of Africa is booming."
"Mandela's example is a ringing endorsement of what is derisively known as the "great man school of history"–the notion that influential individuals make a huge difference in how events turn out," writes Max Boot.
Asked by John Isibor, from Eastern Mediterranean University
The response to Boko Haram and other "jihadist" insurgencies is shaping U.S. foreign policy toward Nigeria and the Sahel. But despite rhetoric to the contrary, the region remains a marginal U.S. priority.
"International investment agreements are once again in the news. The United States is trying to impose a strong investment pact within the two big so-called "partnership" agreements, one bridging the Atlantic, the other the Pacific, that are now being negotiated. But there is growing opposition to such moves."
"For the first time in a very long time, people here have hope," says Liban Mahdi, one of scores of diaspora Somalis who have returned to Mogadishu since al-Shabaab were routed from the city by African Union and Somali forces in August 2011. Parts of the battle-scarred capital are experiencing a construction boom, with hospitals, homes, schools, shops and hotels rising from once rubbled neighbourhoods. Streets hum with cars and hawkers. "We have traffic jams in Mogadishu now," says Ismail, who works in construction. "I never imagined I would see that here."
"In the national collective consciousness, Boko Haram has become something more than a terrorist group, more even than a movement. Its name has taken on an incantatory power. Fearing they will be heard and then killed by Boko Haram, Nigerians refuse to say the group's name aloud, referring instead to 'the crisis' or 'the insecurity.'"
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