The World Must Fight To Eliminate Al Shabaab Revenue Streams

Despite setbacks, al Shabaab remains a resilient and destabilizing threat in Somalia.

According to Africa Center for Strategic Studies ,in the past year, al Shabaab was linked to 2,553 violent events and 6,225 fatalities. This represents nearly a doubling in the number of incidents since 2019.

Fatalities involving al Shabaab have increased by 120 percent during this period. A key means by which al Shabaab has remained resilient is the estimated $100 million in revenue it generates annually.

By comparison, the Federal Government of Somalia accrues approximately $250 million in annual revenue. Al Shabaab’s revenues support roughly 5,000 to 10,000 well-armed fighters as well as a network of operatives on the group’s payroll.

These illegally attained revenues enable al Shabaab to sustain stable illicit regional supply channels while maintaining a phantom presence throughout much of Somalia. Al Shabaab extorts revenue from various aspects of everyday Somali life—from toll roads to property taxes—building on its cultivated reputation of omnipresence and intimidation. ..

The African Center for Strategic Studies has warned that with such largesse, al Shabaab is well positioned to remain a destabilizing force in Somalia, the region, and further afield for years to come.

Dismantling al Shabaab’s revenue generating infrastructure, therefore, is vital to undermining the capacity of the militant group. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

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