Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


John Entelis, Ph.D.


The purpose of this research is to show how radical Islamic terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been able to infiltrate African societies and exploit their conflict in order to spread their own ideology. This paper looks at Algeria and Nigeria, two major countries on the African continent that have been plagued by terrorism since the late 20th century, and how the terrorist groups known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, and the Islamic State West Africa (IS-WA) came to be in their respective nations. It was a combination of internal and external factors that allowed insurgent groups and later terrorist organisations to take hold of these two nations with the internal factors revolving around the political and economic development of Algeria and Nigeria. However it is impossible to tell the causality of these factors, as one does not cause the other. These factors include high unemployment rates, lack of state capacity, poverty, corruption, religion, and institutional weakness. The combination of these factors is what ultimately allowed radical Islamic terrorism to gain a foothold in the North and Western regions of Africa.