Terrorism around the world is a drag on foreign direct investment. In recent years, developing nations have been common terrorism targets, and domestic and transnational terrorism has a negative effect on both a country’s FDI and its GDP.

In a recent survey, the Washington-headquartered Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and its Commission on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) found that at a country level, terrorism is by far the number one issue in Turkey and France. It’s the number two issue in the US and India and in the top four in the UK and Egypt. In all countries, with the exception of China, at least three in four people expect an attack to occur within the next year.

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Root causes

“While we have developed effective military intelligence and law enforcement capabilities that have made every effort to protect our country and countries of the world, the fact is that we will never be able to defeat terrorism unless we go to the root causes that create terrorism in the first place,” said Leon Panetta, former CIA director and former US defence secretary.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair told a CSIS event in Washington, DC: “We’ve been through wars and various elements of military engagements, all ranges of security measures, diplomatic activity, attempts of stopping radicalisation, government programs and civic activity, and we now have a world of harshly gained experience, and yet the anxiety increases and the challenge is great. It is affecting the domestic policies in our own nations too.”

The CVE, which has been studying the issue, recently released a comprehensive blueprint on how to effectively combat “the global scourge of violent extremism” in the US and abroad. Its goal is to clearly articulate what the incoming US administration, in close collaboration with governmental and non-governmental partners, must do to diminish the appeal of extremist ideologies and narratives.

The blueprint offers eight key recommendations: 1) Strengthen resistance to extremist ideologies; 2) Invest in community-led prevention; 3) Saturate the global marketplace of ideas; 4) Align policies and values; 5) Deploy military and law enforcement tools; 6) Exert White House leadership; 7) Expand CVE models; and 8) Surge funding.