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Minimizing risk for youth radicalization and violent extremism in the coast region of Kenya through jobs and incomes from the development of the coconut value chain


UNIDO | United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Titre : Minimizing risk for youth radicalization and violent extremism in the coast region of Kenya through jobs and incomes from the development of the coconut value chain

Pays : Kenya

Date : Jun 3, 2019 // Sep 30, 2024

This project concept has been prepared following a request received from the government of Kenya in June 2019 to support the development of the coconut industry in the coastal region of Kenya and the follow up discussions with Messrs Greencoco Europe AG, a German/Austrian private company engaged in the production, processing and marketing of coconut value-added products.The Kenya coastal region, formerly known as the coast province, comprises six counties, namely, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River. Many residents of Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu [all in Coast Province] hold stronger ties with the Arabian Peninsula than with Kenya’s own interior. These ties make them particularly receptive to jihadist ideology and radicalization emanating from the Middle East and other parts of the world. Further, Kenya’s close proximity to unstable states (Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia), along with its inability to protect its borders, exacerbates the problem.It has been suggested that lack of effective representation in politics, and perceived “discrimination” and lack of economic, educational and other opportunities in the coastal region makes the youth more susceptible to radicalization. William. R. Patterson in his paper on Islamic Radicalization in Kenya (National Defence University Press, July 1, 2015) notes that “The root cause of youth radicalization in Coast stems from the region’s desperate economic, social, and political conditions.” He further notes that this situation is taken advantage of by an infrastructure of social networks or religious and political groups that in some instances are extremist that provide communities with what the government does not. The youth with a mindset of “There is nothing to loose” are easily lured to engage in extremism and terrorism.Disparities in educational opportunities have also been cited as a source of grievance contributing to radicalization. Many coastal region muslim families have turned to madrassas and to foreign education than to formal Kenyan employable education system. The Madrassa’s focuss on teaching Arabic and Wahhabi theology but do not provide employable skills. Consequently the region remains one of the poorest in the country with over 62 percent of overall rural poverty.Further, Economic development of the coastal region has focused on the tourism and the fisheries industry to which many of the residents feel excluded from the benefits generated. According to Fatima Azmiya Badurdeen, citizens in the coast feel their resources are used for the benefit of others. These economic activities also continue to threaten the mangroves and fragile coral reefs which are the traditional source of livelihoods.It is in this context that development of the coconut value chain becomes significant in employment and income generation as a means to reduce the risk to youth radicalization in the region. The coconut crop is one of significant importance in the region with over 200,000 hectares of coconut cultivation, 7.4 million standing coconut trees, and about 150,000 households in the region directly dependent on coconut for income, employment and food security. Further production and value addition to coconut is labour intensive and does not require formal education/skills and therefore will not exclude the coastal citizens.The coconut plant is a hardy and versatile plant with a high industrial potential (coconut milk, coconut water, charcoal, timber, wine etc). The current production of coconuts in the region is, however, largely subsistence with limited incomes to the small scale coconut producers. According to Mr. Francis Fondo, Managing Director of the Kenya Coconut Development Authority, coconut farming has the potential to contribute much more to the economy of the coastal region as well as the national economy, if fully and efficiently exploited. The sector has the capacity to generate annually Sh25 billion instead of the Sh6 billion currently earned. The Kenya government has therefore, in its Vision 2030, identified the coconut sector as critically important in economic diversification of the coastal region. The government strategy is to promote commercial coconut production and processing through private sector investments.The purpose of this project is therefore to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development of the coastal region of Kenya and to reduce the risk to radicalization through the promotion of commercial organic coconut production, value addition and marketing.For optimal results, a public private partnership approach is envisaged. The private sector will be positioned as an anchor to add value and create a sustainable market for the smallholder coconut producers. The major project components that are foreseen by the project area include (i) supporting the production of high quality coconut cultivars through improving the existing tissue culture facility in Kenya ; (ii) supporting small holder commercial organic coconut farming (iii) supporting the small scale processors in product quality management (iv) supporting Messrs Greencoco Europe AG to add more value and to market the final products

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Page publiée le 21 août 2019