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The contribution of anti-corruption measures for the prevention and countering of violent extremism

Corruption undermines state authority, erodes state legitimacy and generates popular grievances, thereby fueling demand for alternatives, including violent extremism. Well-planned and designed anti-corruption measures can strengthen the social contract between citizens and states, thus reducing the appeal of violent extremism. Potential anti-corruption measures that can be used to prevent or counter violent extremist political projects are measures that improve access to justice, create more accountable security forces or engage citizens in public policy processes meant to improve general service delivery. Related measures, such as anti-money laundering policies, can potentially also disrupt the illicit financial flows that support violent extremist projects.

26 June 2023
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The contribution of anti-corruption measures for the prevention and countering of violent extremism

Main points

  • Efforts to prevent violent extremism must look to provide solutions that tackle the root causes of the phenomenon, including underlying popular grievances that facilitate violent extremists’ recruitment, as well as targeting the symptoms such as acts of violence or insurrection.
  • Corruption is a significant grievance that undermines state authority and legitimacy, as well as the social contract between state and citizen.
  • Anti-corruption initiatives can strengthen citizenship engagement, accountability and help rebuild trust between authorities and communities.
  • Anti-corruption measures designed to reduce violent extremism should address hostility towards state authorities generated by corrupt abuses of power.

Cite this publication

Bak, M. ; Jenkins, M. (2023) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:14)

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Mathias Bak

Matt Jenkins is a Research and Knowledge Manager at Transparency International, where he runs the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk, an on-demand bespoke research service for civil society activists and development practitioners. Jenkins specialises in anti-corruption evaluations and evidence reviews, he has produced studies for the OECD and the GIZ, and has worked at the European Commission and think tanks in Berlin and Hyderabad.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)