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Preventing and countering violent extremism in Africa: mining and Australia’s interests

By Lisa Sharland

Australia has commercial and strategic interests in helping to prevent and counter violent extremism in Africa. Australian mining companies are engaged across the continent in Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya and many other countries where there have been high-profile terrorist attacks and kidnappings of foreign nationals, including Australians. Those threats already affect the way Australian mining companies approach their operations on the continent. With rising risks to Australian nationals, businesses and foreign investment through the mining industry, violent extremism in Africa is a direct threat to Australian national interests.

Drawing on the findings of a newly published in-depth report, Preventing and countering violent extremism in Africa: The role of the mining sector, this paper examines how the Australian mining sector should step up efforts aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) in Africa. While the report notes that mining projects present risks that can exacerbate some of the drivers of violent extremism, it also highlights the potential to leverage the work of mining projects as a bulwark against violent extremism.

This paper shows that there’s scope for further cooperation and engagement with the Australian Government in the mining sector. The potential of the private sector in P/CVE remains underexplored. Consequently, the mining sector has an opportunity to lead by example in this field.