The capacity of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to spread rapidly, overwhelm even the most advanced healthcare systems and generate socio-economic crisis of a global magnitude, makes the pandemic perhaps the most devastating global health emergency of the last century. While it may be too early to fully assess the implications of COVID-19 on terrorism and violent extremism, there are major concerns that the pandemic is aggravating existing fault lines for terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel in particular, and West Africa in general. This paper attempts to analyze the potential link between the pandemic and a possible surge in violent extremism in Ghana. It assesses the negative effects of COVID-19 and opportunistic tendencies created as a result. It further traces Ghana’s vulnerability and response to the pandemic, and proposes some extremism-sensitive interventions as policy recommendations.
Frank O. Okyere is the Head of the Peace Support Operations Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)