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Impact of Terrorism on the Economy Essay

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Updated: Mar 29th, 2022

Terrorism has been regarded as the leading threat to international peace and security. Over the past years, acts of terrorism have been witnessed in various parts of the world with the most memorable one being the September 11 attack that left scores of people dead. Acts of terrorism are conducted by insurgent groups working through organized network which are sometimes hard to penetrate. The most common terror group is the Al-Qaida that was responsible for the September 11 2001 bombing attack. Its leader, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi national, was killed a few months ago by the United States of America from his hideouts in the remote parts of Pakistan. However, this has not stopped the remaining members of Al-Qaida to continue instigating acts of terrorism.

Terrorism is hard to define because of its ambiguity and as such, it lacks a single definition. However, Williamson (2009, p. 47) observes that the commonly agreed definition of terrorism by experts is that it involves the use of violence or threat which is a method or combat strategy used to achieve set goals with the aim of inducing fear to the targeted victims. It is by itself a ruthless act that has no conformity to the humanitarian norms. To achieve certain goals, the applied strategy of instilling fear is carried out through the use of publicity, such as mass media. It is intentionally carried out to civilians and non-combatants groups who also happen to be the major targets (Williamson 2009, p.47). The targeted victims share common characteristics, acting “as instrumental targets of violence” (Williamson 2009, p.47).

The victims of terrorism are subjected to subsequent fear and this puts them in a state of constant fear, thereby undermining their sense of security. The sad thing with terrorism is that it is carried out unexpectedly and in unconventional ways in public areas that have mass population. The innocent are usually targeted by terrorists with the aim of seeking attentive audience for manipulation purposes. According to Williamson (2009, p. 47) the Hoffman’s definition of terrorism is that its motives and aims are politically oriented and that violence and threats are used with the aim of inflicting far reaching psychological repercussions. It is also conducted by a group of persons who follow a structured chain of command.

The wider target can be a religious group, rival group, an entire country, a political party, an ethnic group, the national government, or public opinion. The other aim of an act of terror is that other than creating psychological pain, it also creates power where none existed, or fuse power in areas hitherto characterized by limited authority (Williamson 2009, p. 47). In acts of terrorism, leverage is often acquired through publicity, the power and influence possessed by the terrorists. The premise of the essay is to evaluate the nature and the nature and the severity of the risks posed by terrorism on IFAD a United Nations specialized agency. It also assesses the approaches that have been put into place to manage the vulnerability the agency in question.

The act of terrorism poses a lot of risks to many organisations in the world and people in general. The current case study is on the International fund for agricultural Development (IFAD) a United Nation agency that is responsible for ensuring that the rural poor have access to agricultural products through funding of various projects in order to make their livelihoods better. A report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2010, p. 4) indicates that limited economic opportunities, illiteracy, and other disadvantages that are deeply rooted in political and social inequalities of the society. Other than poverty, the rural poor are exposed to diseases, conflicts, disasters, high prices, insecurity among other vices, and this poses danger to their livelihood.

The major causes of poverty and famine in the developing countries is not as a result of food production problems but associated with structural problems. The major reason why poverty has become rampant is that in most of the developing nations, a large part of the populations is found in the rural areas where they are susceptible to poor standards of living. According to IFAD (2010, p. 11) it is estimated that there are over one billion people who are considered as the rural poor, living in dire poverty. However, eradication of poverty through agricultural funding can reduce poverty level. Subsequently, poverty would continue to exist because of the risk involved in these environments.

The key drivers of development and poverty eradication are believed to lie in the implementation of policies and strategies that promote agriculture in developing countries or those affected by famine. The policies have to be initiated by governments and other organisations like the IFAD However, democracy, which is important in ensuring that policies are fully implemented, lacks in most of the developing economies. The current phenomenon is the situation being experienced in the Somalia, a country that has been torn by war for decades. According to reports by Reuters, the crisis in Somalia has been reported by the United Nations to be the worst famine to have ever hit the area for 20 years. The current situation has been necessitated by political instability (Laurence 2011). Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Mr. Kanayo Nwanze was reported saying that the area has been hit by humanitarian crisis that is hit by natural disasters and manmade disasters (Laurence 2011 The prevailing political instability in Somalia has made it impossible for IFAD to invest in agricultural development projects.

The insurgent terrorism group Al-Shabaab, an Islamist rebel group, has been fighting the government over the years and consequently, the prevailing tension has destabilised the country’s economy. The fight that has been going on over the years has made it impossible for humanitarian organisations to invest in the politically tense and war torn country. According to Laurence (2011) the conflict in southern Somalia has worsened making it hard for willing aid agencies to offer assistance to the communities in Somalia. The manmade disaster has made it hard for the IFAD and other aid agencies to invest in Somalia. In other occasions, the aid agencies have been thrown out of Somalia by the Islamic rebel Al-Shabaab. For, example, “the Shabaab forced out Western aid organisations in 2010” (Warsameh 2011).This has left a lot of rural poor in need of food and other aids suffering because of the politically manipulated conflicts. For the last few months, Somali nationals have been migrating to the neighbouring countries such as Kenya in search of food.

According to Mohamed (2011) the drought in the south of horn of Africa has been associated with the al Qaeda, a militia linked group that has been operating in the region for the last four years, worsening the impact of the drought. This kind of domestic terrorism has become an internal problem that the international community has no control over. This has made it hard for IFAD to help the poor and those starving from famine that has hit the country for the last 20years. This is because the militants cannot allow the agency to offer the aid to the vulnerable groups. A lot of malnourished children have died along their mothers because the UN agency could not have reached the areas under the control of the insurgent groups in advance to initiate agricultural development projects. It is hard to invest in such areas as penetration is hindered by the presence militia which acts as a threat to IFAD. Some of these areas are restricted from being accessed by the humanitarian organisation. For example, the ban on southern Somalia was recently lifted after the number of those dying due of famine increased.

IFAD is known for working in the most remote areas prone to terrorism. Workers at IFAD are exposed to risks associated with terrorism. For instance, IFAD initiated projects in FATA, a part of the Pakistan border that has been known for its terrorism attacks. According to a report released by IFAD (2008, p.1), it has been revealed that there exists no documents that give any explanation on how IFAD established itself in the area. However, it is believed that the area is ruled by tribes and sub-tribes with no governmental representatives. Because of the insurgent groups in the area, it has been hard for the organization to recruit, retain staff and mobilise the local communities to participate in the projects initiated by IFAD. In most of the cases, the workers are rejected by the insurgency groups that operate from both sides under different associations. Such areas are inaccessible due to terrorism, and this creates fear in some of the workers at the IFAD. This is because their lives are always exposed to attacks and given the fact that they are whites, the insurgent groups may be faced with difficulties in negotiations and getting themselves accepted in the community to offer their assistance.

Some of the projects initiated by IFAD in areas prone to terrorism may fail to succeed if destroyed, thereby leading to loss of funds. This is may be necessitated by the inadequate programs and agreements that the insurgent groups may expect to be approached with. Insecurity in the lands that the IFAD is willing to offer assistance to may be occupied by the insurgent groups. In their discussion paper, Audinet and Haralambous (2005, p. 35) noted that most of the investments initiated by the smallholders are curtailed by insecure landowner tenure and high risks in these areas.

The rural poor live in lands that are in most cases not registered to them. For example, most of the poor parts in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia are ruled by militia groups. This makes it impossible to fully implement viable projects because people lack access to land and water. The tenure to security is also not guaranteed. Audinet and Haralambous (2005, p.35) in their IFAD discussion paper on how to reach the millennium development goals, cited that secure access to land is the only key to ensuring that agricultural development is initiated among the poor in the society. Women and children who constitute a large portion of the rural poor can hardly have access to secure land, forest, and water. This has made it hard for IFAD to initiate projects.

Audinet and Haralambous (2005, p. 36) in their discussion paper observed that tenure security forms the basis of ensuring that agricultural practices and other empowerment projects are sustained. Permanent security ensures that long term investment in the rural poor is carried with the aim of improving productivity in those areas. However, this has not been the case in most of the areas affected by poverty and famine. For example, southern Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been identified as no-go-zone because of their inaccessibility and lack of security tenure. The inhabitants of these areas are always on move in fear of their death either from famine or attacks by the terrorists groups that rule the areas. For organisations like IFAD to fully implement long lasting development projects, there is need for secure land tenure. The displacement of people after projects have been initiated has led to losses that are unaccounted for. If for instance, land tenure was available it would have been easier for the agency to start projects that can alleviate poverty. Audinet and Haralambous (2005, p. 36) note that “ Failure to ensure security of tenure for the poorest in a situation of increasing land and water values is likely to lead to a displacement of the most vulnerable groups by the better connected and more affluent.”

Agro-terrorism is common in the developing countries that are bound by poverty, violence, famine and drought. Linacre et al. (2005, 3) defines agro-terrorism as a deliberate disruption of crop and animal production and their distribution through the use of biological agents. The major aim is to instill fear in the masses by the use of threats on water and foods as to create a state of anxiety so as to manipulate the targeted audience. The terrorists use threats to seek audience, demands, attention, intimidation, , propaganda, and coercion. Agro-terrorism can be carried through livestock poisoning and the deliberate introduction and spread of animals and plant pathogens (Linacre et al., 2005, 3). IFAD invests in developing countries to ensure poverty eradication through agricultural investments to increase production. They invest in food production as well as livestock rearing.

Investments in these projects by IFAD can be faced with agro-terrorism. Through the destruction of these food crops by the terrorism groups, the society and the sponsoring group like IFAD can be inflicted with fear of terror. This makes them flee the region they were operating from for the safety of their lives. A report by the human rights watch in 2004 reported an incident in the southern Sudan were militia that was aligned to the government looted cattle and destructed the crops of the civilians (Linacre et al., 14). This kind of terrorism has the likelihood of inflicting psychological fear to the residents of these places as well as those implementing the projects in these regions. In areas that IFAD has invested in livestock and crops, terrorists can use anthrax or other agro-terror agents that cause diseases to crops and animals. The aim could be to inflict fear among the organisers of such projects so that they can gain their power over the people.

Disaster and risk management approaches are essential in places that are at risk of terrorism. Several approaches are used to mitigate, prevent, and deal with the most vulnerable actions inflicted by the terror groups. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2011, p. 5) “guidelines for disaster early recovery have been developed to support IFAD staff in implementing timely and effective intervention.” One of the objectives of the guidelines is to establish effective communication to the existing and the relevant stakeholders. Areas such as southern Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are ruled by the terrorism militants that pose a threat to the implementation of poverty eradication programs by IFAD. IFAD can use the negotiation approach and reason with the militia to be allowed to offer their assistance to the famine stricken areas.

For example, an understanding was reached in initiating IFAD projects operations in Pakistan on barani which has been affected by conflicts (IFAD 2008, p.1). This way a group can be allowed to undertake development projects that can alleviate the poverty risk exposed to the people A good example where this strategy has found application is the in the FATA region bordering Afghanistan that has a population of people living in dire poverty. It is believed that IFAD was the first non-organisational group to set development projects in the war torn area for it had “desire to seek a niche that was not dominated by other donors” (IFAD 2008, p.1). Most of the organisations feared for their security and lives. However, IFAD negotiated its way in and it has then been doing projects in the region.

The military approach has been used in these deplorable areas to deal with terrorism groups. For the safety of the nationalities and the workers of the groups’ working in these areas, the government can deploy military. It should be noted that the military is used as the last option in managing terrorism. The military deploys its power into the affected area with the aim of capturing the terrorists. This ensures that not all the people are negatively affected by the military operations because the whole population does not constitute the militants. The common approach applied is search and destroy that has been used by the American government in Iraq. By the use of military personnel and other facilities, the military is able to win the hearts of the people and organisation in those areas. Although military uses forces it can be used as the last resort so as to allow proper function of humanitarian and emergency groups. IFAD if approached by the governments in a situation where its rural poor need its help in establishing the agricultural projects it could respond.

The threats posed by agro-terrorism to organisations like IFAD and the citizens are hard to address because the intentions of the terrorists are not well known. However, an approach has been devised to deal with agro-terrorism. The threat assessment is an approach that is mainly used by to determine the targeted activities based on gathered intelligence information (Linacre 2005, p.5). This is because the nature of each attack is different and each should be handled differently. In this approach, the assessment is done on the targeted group and gathered information is used to determine whether the area is really under attack or threat. According to Linacre (2005, p.5), an analysis is done to determine whether the threat would affect the food chain or will be from general to specific, or vice versa. Other considerations made before taking action is a comparison between the present attack threats and relevant threats that might have been carried on the same grounds. Through the identification of the consequences, it is possible to conduct an analytical framework that puts into consideration the perceived vulnerability and the consequences that the terrorists may be limited to. This analysis would able the analyst establish whether the threats are general or they are specific. After analysis, the attack and the probability of the consequences that are deemed to occur, the involved parties can take the measures for mitigation purposes.

In areas that are ruled and controlled by the militant insurgents, the aid workers work with fear because their lives are always in danger. According to International Fund of Agriculture Development (2011, p.12), IFAD can intervene in the areas that it has operations. The aim of intervention is to restore the developments when the goals and objectives cannot be reached after the destruction. For instance, if it had started farming projects in areas attacked by agro-terrorism, it can intervene and try to uplift the livelihood of the people in the area. However, IFAD does not involve itself in making peace keeping deals, because its duty is to restore the livelihoods of people hit by crisis or disasters.

Developing countries are more anticipated to be affected by acts of terrorism than industrialized ones. Inbound domestic terrorism in a given territory or state affects the livelihoods of that particular state or territory. Given that IFAD is faced with a problem of being attacked, chased away or their projects destroyed, awareness has been made to come up with a contingency plan. Contingency planning based on this context refers to the activities that IFAD can prepare ahead of time for preparedness in anticipation of the challenges that may be brought about by a disaster or a crisis (International Fund of Agriculture development 2011, p. 22).

Contingency planning therefore is a mode of disaster preparedness approach that is used in risk management. Contingency planning is recommendable to all countries, however, they are more prevalent to areas that are prone to disasters and the disasters have the likelihood of destroying or hampering the operations of the organisations (International Fund of Agriculture development 2011, p. 22). For example, they are more recommendable to Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan than they are to Uganda although both are prone to disaster from terrorism attacks. In this approach, IFAD analyses the risks that may be faced by the target group or the country where vulnerabilities and hazards that are prone are accessed at the local level (International Fund of Agriculture development 2011, p. 23). For example, IFAD can estimate the risks that may arise to women and children affected by terrorism and come up with a way of remedying their livelihoods.

Under contingency planning, Early Warning Systems (EWS) are used to determine the probability of an occurrence in a particular area (International Fund of Agriculture development 2011, p. 24). With the help of other UN agencies concerned with peacekeeping, the organization can be able to determine the rate or the likelihood of an event happening based on probability. For example, UN peacekeepers in areas struck by terrorism can concurrently give the intelligence to IFAD as part of early warning systems. This could help IFAD officers on the ground and in the headquarters to institute viable programs that can run without disruptions, thereby improving the livelihoods of the affected poor. In order to ensure that the members of IFAD are not attacked during their underground operations, the EWS helps them communicate with each other to reduce cases of insurgency attacks. This has been implemented after there were reports of several kidnappings and killings of humanitarian officers in poverty stricken areas controlled by militia groups.

Where policies are required to implement security of tenure on land, water and forest, the IFAD can collaborate with the government. According to the International Fund of Agriculture development (2011, p. 26), IFAD collaborates with the local government to seek the way forward in planning the intervention and recovery programs. This helps them to access the people’s needs with the help of the government and ensure that all programs are run smoothly. Exposure to insecurity is a vulnerability that IFAD workers are faced with while undertaking ground operations in different places. The International Fund of Agriculture development (2011, p. 28) notes that formal arrangements are required with agencies that offer emergency and relief so that they can use their security. This ensures that they can easily access the areas under attack with no difficulties and in time to check on their programs.

Other than these approaches, IFAD could develop critical program policy that could address the level of poverty in Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan which are ruled by insurgent groups. The governments and other stakeholders like the UN should work together to ensure that access is allowed to the terrorist controlled areas. Dialogue, negotiation and effective communication between the insurgent groups in the terror ruled areas and humanitarian agencies could be used to restore peace. This would allow IFAD to develop mitigation measures to prevent further death as a result hunger. Situations like the current case in Somalia where the Al-Shabaab has retreated from Mogadishu but the window period is not known (Onyiengo 2011), cannot guarantee agencies like the IFAD safety to initiate its projects. Policies should be put into place to address situations like this. Dialogue and negotiation could be applicable since Al-Shabaab would not like to be seen as the one responsible for the deaths in Southern Somalia. IFAD could use the area development concept that it used in between 1979 and 1980 in Pakistan and in 1987 at Chitral in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the border of Afghanistan (IFAD 2008). The same mitigation approach can be used in Somalia were an agreement is reached and IFAD undertakes projects that would change the livelihoods of the people. Then no more deaths and hunger would be witnessed in the horn of Africa. Projects in these areas are categorised as ‘projects at risks’ and different measures and policies should be used to initiate and implement projects in these areas.

In conclusion, terrorism has been labeled as an international threat to peace and security. Although no single definition of terrorism has been reached at, there is a growing agreement that it is orchestrated by groups of people who follow up a chain of command. Their aim and objective is to inflict terror on the masses using violence and threats so as to get audience from a given authority. Other aims of terrorism is to gain power where there is no one or increase it where there is little. With the attacks targeting civilians, IFAD has been on the receiving end and has faced with some of the risks associated with terrorism. Since IFAD conducts its operations in areas that are prone to disaster whether manmade or natural, its workers and programs are faced with terror attacks.

In the course of implementing poverty alleviation programs there is the likelihood of being attacked by insurgents. In other instances, they are thrown away from these areas, their programs attacked, and the land they are operating on taken by militants. Agro-terrorism is the current mode of terrorism that involves infliction of fear and terror to people through intentional destruction or poisoning of crops and livestock. Insecurity in these areas ruled by terrorism groups like the FATA in Afghanistan border is among the feared place that IFAD has several projects. Some of the approaches applied in counterchecking these vulnerabilities include, contingency planning that acts as a disaster preparedness program in risk management. Others include risk assessment, the use of military, democratic negotiation, and early warning systems. These are some of the approaches that have been put in place by IFAD to deal with the terrorism vulnerability.

Reference List

Audinet, J., & Haralambous, S., 2005, Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Rural Investment and Enabling. Web.

IFAD.,2008, Web.

International Fund for Agricultural Development., 2011, IFAD Guidelines for Disaster Early Recovery. Web.

International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2010. Rural Poverty Report 2011. Web.

Laurence, J. 2011, Somalia emergency exacerbated by instability-UN official., Web.

Linacre, N. A. 2005, Web.

Mohamed, I. 2008, Somali rebels say famine label used for politics. Web.

Onyiengo, M., 2011, Web.

Warsameh, F, A., Web.

Williamson, M., 2009, Terrorism, war and international law: the legality of the use of force against Afghanistan in 2001. Ashgate: England.

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