One reason for so little al Qaeda activity in sub-Saharan Africa is the relative lack of Internet access. While most countries in the West have over half their population connected to the Internet, in Africa it's only about one percent. Since the Internet is the primary (but not the only) means of communication for Islamic terrorists, the lack of access in Africa is a problem. But this lack also makes Internet use more dangerous. With less Internet traffic to monitor, it's easier for Western intelligence agencies to track what's going on via the African Internet nodes. Thus the idea that, because Africa is rather "out-of-the-way" does not make it a better hideout for Islamic terrorists.