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Providing support to local counterparts across specific West African coastal states to withstand the increasing pressures of violent extremist organizations.


Stability in coastal West Africa, a region with strategic allies and critical infrastructure in the fight against violent extremism and transnational terrorism, is a U.S. foreign policy priority. Deteriorating security dynamics in the Sahel and violent extremist organizations’ (VEOs) need for additional sources of revenue and recruitment bring new urgency to the threat of VEO expansion into the littoral states. Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo are all grappling with varying and intensifying internal instability dynamics which could expedite VEO expansion and consolidation if left unaddressed. USAID/OTI’s flexible program is capable of working in remote communities to help local stakeholders establish approaches to combating VEO incursion and expansion.


The Littorals Regional Initiative (LRI) program is able to provide support to local counterparts across specific West African coastal states to withstand the increasing pressures of VEOs by addressing instability factors including: localized conflict, ethno-religious marginalization, lack of understanding of the VEO threat, local grievances against governance structures, and weak social cohesion. LRI complements the broader USAID presence in the region by providing short-term, targeted programming that reduces windows for VEO expansion and helps national governments and local communities build prevention capacity.


Northern Ghana: Northern Ghana is home to a variety of inter-connected conflict dynamics that contribute to state fragility and could provide avenues for VEO expansion, such as intra-Muslim tensions, growing farmer-herder conflicts, the confluence of idle youth and lucrative illicit activities, and land and chieftaincy conflicts. The program aims to support governance through collaborations with local government, civil society, and communities to help build more resilient, stronger communities that can withstand the influence of VEOs.

Togo: Communities across northern Togo face a range of dynamics that contribute to instability and present potential opportunities for VEO expansion, including limited state services, strained relationships between communities and security forces, farmer-herder tension, and idle youth. The program intends to increase the resilience of communities against violent extremism influence in northern Togo and address sources of vulnerability among border communities.

Benin: Benin’s long and sparsely populated border with the Sahel has seen an increased presence of VEOs in recent years. The Government of Benin increased the presence of security forces in the area, but long standing grievances in the north provide fertile ground for VEO incursion. The program works primarily in northern Benin to engage local leaders to raise awareness and incubate community efforts to prevent potential VEO recruitment.

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Last updated: December 23, 2021

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