Resource Extraction and Violent Extremism in Africa
Abundant natural resources, swathes of unprotected territory and porous borders make resource extraction an attractive source of wealth for opportunistic extremist groups in Africa – most notably al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Janjaweed militia. This policy insight paper outlines the extent to which each group is engaged in the extraction of natural resources and the degree to which this activity is funding the group. In the case of al-Shabaab, it appears that the funds it derives from natural resources are due to the taxation of charcoal rather than extraction itself. The LRA, on the other hand, seems to be relying heavily on poaching and ivory sales for capital. The Janjaweed has acquired considerable funds through artisanal mines in Darfur, a region rich in gold deposits. Lastly, research suggests that Boko Haram receives little or no revenues directly from natural resource extraction.