International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism: The Effects in Africa

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August 21st is the international day of remembrance and tribute to the victims of terrorism. The United Nations set aside this day to honor the victims and survivors of terrorism around the world. 

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In Africa, a lot of countries have been affected by terror attacks, from the Westgate attack in Nairobi, Kenya, to the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali. In fact, the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) estimates that the number of terror attacks has increased from 300 to 2,365 between 2002 and 2018. How has this impacted the continent?

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Destabilizing the Economy

Terrorism disrupts the economic productivity of a country. It leads to the loss of life, destroys infrastructure, and forces the market to slow down. 

Investors tend to pull out or be very cautious about putting money in countries prone to terror attacks. 

Additionally, terrorism causes uncertainty in the markets, which leads to shutdowns. This takes time to recover, which pushes up the cost of living. 

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Tourists Avoid Travelling

People planning to travel to African countries either postpone or cancel their travels. This affects the hospitality industry. The hotel and flight bookings are cancelled. Also, venues booked remain empty and it takes a while for travelers, domestic and international, to regain confidence. 

For example, in 2014, after the Westgate attack, Kenya lost around $59 million. Egypt lost 43% of its tourism revenue as a result of the attacks. It’s common for other countries to issue travel advisories warning their citizens about visiting the affected countries. 

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Reduced Agriculture and Production

Agriculture is the backbone of many African countries. Terror attacks inhibit the movement of products across the country and outside. 

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This means that the goods produced might not be sold hence the loss of money to the individual and economy. 

As such, people who rely on it have to shift to other things to cope. The lack of production leads to little to no importation of products to overseas markets.

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Stifling of Trade and Production

The disruption in the supply chain leads to little to no profitability for the producers and the economy. This is because goods made can’t reach the market. At the same time, companies shut down, and others completely pullout due to fears of other attacks. Additionally, other countries restrain themselves from trading with terror-prone regions. 

Reliance on Foreign Governments

African countries face many challenges when it comes to preventing terror attacks. Their military strength might not be enough to counter terrorism threats. 

As a result, they have to rely on European or American governments to provide military support. Even though the assistance is appreciated, African countries have to give something in return. 

They have to allow them to set up their military bases, give up some of their sovereignty and change their policies in their favor. 

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Changes in Social Life

Some security measures imposed, like frisking people before they walk into institutions, are now a regular practice. Some people no longer feel safe walking into public places like churches, schools, and malls. Young children are being radicalized in schools and churches.

Terrorism has changed the lives of individuals and countries on the continent. It remains an ever-present threat, so we must all pull together to combat terror. More importantly, we must never forget to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. 

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