Certainly there are still complicated weeks in the international context, with global terrorism situations and division among the major world powers on how to combat this global threat, the terrorism affects all countries. Just let me remind that jihadism through DAESH, seeks to establish a global caliphate, and the international division only serves to benefit the interests of the terrorists.
If we focus on Spain, the Elcano Royal Institute notes that there has been a eclosion of native Jihadism in Spain in the last years, with the main focuses on Ceuta and Melilla. However, the metropolitan area of Barcelona continues to be the main stage of the recruitment and training of potential jihadists in Spain. This report adds that nine out of ten alleged jihadists or jihadists arrested in Spain since 2013 were involved in terrorist networks, newly formed or reconstituted, with the mission of radicalization or training.
And what about in the Canary Islands?
The Canary Islands, as defined by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies (IEEE) of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, in a report published in 2013, the archipelago has a privileged geographical location, opposite the West facade of Africa, and it plays a role as a hub for all the maritime traffic with West Africa.
In the area of security, the IEEE report reminds us that, as Spanish territory, the Canary Islands are protected by national capacities and structures, the Washington Treaty (NATO) and the Treaty of Lisbon (EU), which allows the archipielago tobe among the world’s safest areas. Surely this revalues its position even more.
But it is also true that the Canary Islands is the Spanish territory and European closer to one of the world’s largest areas of concern: The Sahel. In this vast territory, where the western border is very close to the islands, various jihadist groups have gained a foothold without the sovereign states of the Great Sand Sea are able to exercise effective control over the region.
The Canary Islands can contribute according to its size and capabilities to mitigate the growth of radicalism in the Sahel, strengthening ties of cooperation with West Africa in a basic aspect such as training, as DAESH benefits from the poor education level of the young people for their recruitment, and also a complicated economic situationto recruit young people to radicalism that see no way out situation are the main arguments of radicalism.
If the Canary Islands achieves to foster basic education for the African youth, transfer its know-how to make a more inclusive and participatory society through training in good governance. And of course, the Canary Islands could also be involved in the training of the intermediate, managerial and technical staff, in order to provide the necessary tools for some part of the African population to develop a solid business structure that could allow to create jobs with the minimum capabilities to be inside of the global industrial chain.
In my opinion, if the Canary Islands succeeds to position in the area of training, our professionals and companies could and profit by having the continent as a solid partner that will be the most growing region in the coming years and where all is to be developed.
Furthermore, we will be considered different from other regions that all what they want is nothing butto do business on the continent without leaving wealth in the region.
And if the Canary Islands consolidates as a strategic partner, it could add value to the foreign investor that intends to use the archipelago as a platform to enter the African continent, knowledge that complements the Canary Islands advantages as a safe place and quality of life to live and work, with multiple direct maritime and air connections with Africa, skilled workforce and a business network with experience in the region.
Definitely, the Canary Islands can turn this global terrorist threat into an opportunity, and make evident that jihadism is defeated through the cooperation in the medium and long term, providing hope to the African youth a basic but powerful tool such as training and skills so that they have a rising future.
Consultant specialized on internationalization and foreign investment attraction.