UNITED States’ President, Barrack Obama, on Saturday, linked growing terrorism in Africa to bad governance but insisted that, “in the case of the Boko Haram sect, there is (also) the religious rationale for what they are doing.”
Obama, who spoke at the African young Leaders’ Town Hall meeting in Soweto, South Africa, as part of his official tour of Africa, said the war on terror is not the exclusive preserve of the United States but a global issue.
The Guardian monitored the session, which was aired by the Cable News Network (CNN).
“It is not just the problem of the United States; it is a problem for everybody. When the US Embassy was bombed in Kenya, more Kenyans were killed than foreigners,” the US President, who clearly avoided Nigeria in his schedule — and in all his official speeches — said during the question-and-answer session yesterday.
According to Obama, regional terror gangs like the Boko Haram in Nigeria, may not have grown transnational in capacity like others but they are doing a great harm in Africa.
He explained that the US does not necessarily wish to get involved in war militarily, even as he stressed that his country will not likely intervene in specific matters but expects that the whole of African countries will “collaborate with us to fight” terrorism.
Obama called on African leaders to build capacity to tackle terrorism, stating that his government will provide training and advice.
The US’ President also hinted that the US is already partnering with Nigeria on education to develop human capital.
According to him, the most important investment a nation can make is to develop its youths and encourage technological development, adding “these days, businesses can go anywhere to get quality manpower.”
Stating that it is the failings of governments that give rise to terrorism, he opined that responsive and democratic institutions are the best defence against terrorism.
He said: “It is my strong belief that terrorism is more likely to emerge and take root where countries are not delivering for their people and where there are sources of conflict and unaligned frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with.
“The danger we have right now, for example, in a place like Somalia, is that it’s been two generations, maybe three, since there was a functioning government inside of Somalia. We start to see some progress in part because of intervention by African nations in Somalia to clear the space and create the space for governance. But you look at what is happening in Mali, for example, right now, part of the problem is that they have a weak central government and democratic institutions that weren’t reaching out as far into the country as necessary.
By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi/THE GUARDIAN