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“Peace Paradox” and pandemic: A natural experiment of COVID-19 effects on African Jihadist groups

Institutions & Governance

South African National Defense Force patrol Central Johannesburg | James Oatway

Study Context

The impact of COVID-19 in conflict zones is not well documented as these areas are often inaccessible, dangerous, politically complex, and beyond the reach of the state. Some have argued that the impact of COVID-19 may aid African jihadists groups, allowing them to build popular support for their cause and proto-states by increasing service provision, stepping in where the state is failing in medical, water, and food provisions. This study investigates whether the COVID-19 outbreak weakens or increases terrorism attacks in Africa by using data on COVID-19 cases and events of terrorism attacks since January 2020.

Study Design

This study applies panel testing to analyze the behavior of African Jihadist groups (controlled by numbers of attacks) in relation to COVID-19, while controlling for African Jihadist specific characteristics.


Results and Policy Lessons

Preliminary results suggest that, a 10% increase in the total deaths from Covid-19 is translated in 7.18% decrease in terrorist attacks. When ethnic fractionalization, natural resources, and GDP per capita are considered, the basic results remain consistent. Results suggest that total deaths from COVID-19 tend to reduce the total number of terrorist attacks in Africa.

  • Larissa Nawo
  • Henri Njangang

2020 — ongoing

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