From the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, to recent al Qaeda and Boko Haram attacks in Northwest Africa, events have suggested that both regions are vulnerable to terrorism and violent extremism. The United States provides training and equipment to military and law enforcement agencies in partner countries, and works with local populations at risk of becoming involved in violent radicalization. We issued two reports this year on U.S. regional programs in East Africa and Northwest Africa. These programs are helping improve the ability of African countries to counter terrorist groups, but both need stronger program management from the State Department to meet their goals and protect taxpayer dollars. Hear our podcast with Charles Michael Johnson, Jr., a director in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade team, who led this work: East Africa The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) focuses on building the capacity to combat terrorism in Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries have faced terrorist attacks from al Qaeda and al Shabaab, as shown below.
Excerpted from GAO-14-502We reported that the United States has allocated nearly $100 million for the PREACT program. These funds are part of nearly $1 billion the United States has allocated since 2009, to assist partner countries in addressing terrorist threats in East Africa. PREACT funds activities such as:
- investigative training for Somali police units;
- providing communications equipment to the Ethiopian military; and
- computer literacy training for teachers in Kenya working with youth at risk for radicalization.
Excerpted from GAO-14-518TSCTP-funded activities include:
- training and equipping partner nation counterterrorism units;
- providing vocational training for at-risk youth; and
- encouraging youth to reject violent extremism through public diplomacy.