The African Union (AU) Counterterrorism Framework and The Rhetoric of Regional Cooperation
Terrorist attacks have grown to become more intense in recent years with over 80% of these attacks, in 2015 alone, occurring in Africa. Countries like Somalia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya are notably the ‘hot spots’ of global terrorism as terrorist groups even outside Africa have links to one or more of these countries. Since 2002, the AU rolled out an Action Plan for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa. This plan of action was intended to show the commitment of African leaders to dealing with and eradicating terrorism on the continent. However, incidents and fatalities from terrorism have continued to be recorded in Africa. While some scholars have challenged the political will of African leaders, others point to the problems of poverty, good governance, human rights abuses, underdevelopment and lack of democratic participation, as the reasons for the increased rate of terrorism on the continent. This paper examines the AU’s Counterterrorism Plan of Action and shows that a robust counterterrorism framework is already in place but the AU has been unable to provide the political cohesion and unity of purpose required for sustaining the regional cooperation needed to combat terrorism on the continent. It argues that the challenges of regional cooperation, within the economic, political and security dimensions have crippled the efforts of the AU in combating terrorism on the continent, resulting in significant implications for implementing the counterterrorism framework.