Littorals

Speeches Shim

Map of Littoral States in West Africa

To support local counterparts across five West African coastal states to withstand the increasing pressures of violent extremist organizations by addressing instability factors.


WHY USAID/OTI IS IN LITTORAL WEST AFRICA

Stability in coastal West Africa, a region with critical infrastructure and strategic allies in the fight against violent extremism and transnational terrorism, is a priority for broader U.S. foreign policy. While violent extremist organizations (VEO) have been active in the region for over a decade, the Littoral states have been largely spared the brunt of the violence. Deteriorating security dynamics in the Sahel and 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 provides a flexible program capable of working in remote communities to help local stakeholders establish approaches to combating VEO incursion and respond to acute crises that create openings for VEO expansion.

USAID/OTI’s ROLE IN LITTORAL WEST AFRICA

The Littorals Regional Initiative (LRI) program supports local counterparts across five West African coastal states to withstand the increasing pressures of violent extremist organizations by addressing instability factors including: governance weaknesses, conflict, 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. 

INITIAL TARGET REGIONS 

Northern Ghana: Northern Ghana is home to a variety of conflict dynamics that could contribute to VEO expansion, such as intra-Muslim tensions, the confluence of idle youth and lucrative illicit activities, and perennial land use and chieftaincy conflicts.

Togo: Communities across northern Togo face a range of dynamics that contribute to instability and present potential opportunities for VEOs to take advantage of, including a lack of state services, fear of security forces, distrust of Fulanis, numerous inter-ethnic land conflicts, and idle youth.

Benin: Benin’s long and sparsely populated border with Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria has seen an increased presence of VEOs in the past year. The Government of Benin has increased the presence of security forces in the area, but long standing grievances by northern populations provide fertile ground for VEO incursion.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: May 19, 2021

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