Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham is quoted by Voice of America on terrorism in the Sahel region:

Peter Pham, director of the Africa Program at the Atlantic Council, says the Sahel is an ideal base for terrorist groups. 

“Central governments in most African countries are largely unable to assert authority beyond major cities, so terrorist organizations found it is easier to exploit wide areas in these countries away from military pressure in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.

Pham says social indicators in the region are some of the worst in the world and terrorists have been able to exploit the situation.

“Poor education, ethnic and religious intolerance, poverty, lack of economic opportunities, political fragmentation and criminal activities linked with militants,” he says are just some of the factors that drive young men to join jihadist groups.  Impoverished young men join for either ideological reasons or for money.

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