Meet The Nigerian Entrepreneur Depriving Boko Haram Of New Recruits
By Willy Foote
Much ink has been spilled analyzing what makes violent extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram tick—and even more, how we can combat their influence. Often, these inquiries focus on ideology. But just as important are the economic factors that drive disaffected men and women to join radical groups. Young people are more vulnerable to extremist recruitment when they feel they have no other options: no jobs, no wages, no ability to put food on the table.
In rural Nigeria, which suffers from high youth unemployment and multiple violent insurgencies, this dynamic is a ticking time bomb. And it threatens not only thousands of lives, but the economic wellbeing and investment health of Africa’s most populous nation.
Kola Masha, a fellow social entrepreneur and recipient of a Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, believes that there’s a business solution to halting the spread of insecurity. He founded Babban Gona in 2010 to bring jobs and stability to his home country of Nigeria. I recently sat down with Kola to chat agriculture, youth employment, and how investing in rural areas can “deprive insurgencies of the oxygen they need to thrive.”
Photo courtesy of Sudipto Sarkar.