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Mobile Pastoralism and Land Grabbing in Sudan

Once again, the Horn of Africa has been in the headlines. And once again the news
has been bad: drought, famine, conflict, hunger, suffering and death. The finger of
blame has been pointed in numerous directions: at the changing climate, at environ-
mental degradation, at overpopulation, at geopolitics and conflict, at aid agency
failures, and more. But it is not all disaster and catastrophe. Many successful develop-
ment efforts at ‘the margins’ often remain hidden, informal, sometimes illegal; and
rarely in line with standard development prescriptions. If we shift our gaze from the
capital cities to the regional centres and their hinterlands, then a very different
perspective emerges. These are the places where pastoralists live. They have for
centuries struggled with drought, conflict and famine. They are resourceful, entre-
preneurial and innovative peoples. Yet they have been ignored and marginalized by
the states that control their territory and the development agencies that are supposed
to help them. This book argues that, while we should not ignore the profound
difficulties of creating secure livelihoods in the Greater Horn of Africa, there is much
to be learned from development successes, large and small.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars with an interest in
development studies and human geography, with a particular emphasis on Africa.
It will also appeal to development policy-makers and practitioners.
Andy Catley is a Research Director at the Feinstein International Center, Tufts
University. He has worked on regional and international policy issues related to
livestock development and pastoralism in the Horn of Africa for many years, and
established the Center’s Africa Regional Office in Addis Ababa in 2005.
Jeremy Lind is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development
Studies, where he convenes a research theme on pastoralism for the Future
Agricultures Consortium.
Ian Scoones is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and
co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre ( and joint coordi-
nator of the Future Agricultures Consortium (
Pathways to Sustainability Series
This book series addresses core challenges around linking science and technology
and environmental sustainability with poverty reduction and social justice. It is based
on the work of the Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to
Sustainability (STEPS) Centre, a major investment of the UK Economic and Social
Research Council (ESRC). The STEPS Centre brings together researchers at the
Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and SPRU (Science and Technology Policy
Research) at the University of Sussex with a set of partner institutions in Africa, Asia
and Latin America.
Series Editors:
Melissa Leach, Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling
STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex
Editorial Advisory Board:
Steve Bass, Wiebe E. Bijker, Victor Galaz, Wenzel Geissler, Katherine Homewood,
Sheila Jasanoff, Colin McInnes, Suman Sahai, Andrew Scott
Titles in this series include:
Dynamic sustainabilities
Technology, environment, social justice
Melissa Leach, Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling
Avian influenza
Science, policy and politics
Edited by Ian Scoones
Rice biofortification
Lessons for global science and development
Sally Brooks
Science, governance and social justice
Edited by Sarah Dry and Melissa Leach
Contested agronomy
Agricultural research in a changing world
James Sumberg and John Thompson
Pastoralism and development in Africa
Dynamic change at the margins
Edited by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones
‘In 2010 the African Union released the first continent-wide policy framework to
support pastoralism and pastoralist areas in Africa. The policy draws on a central
argument of this new book, being that innovative and dynamic changes are occur-
ring in pastoralist areas in response to increasing livestock marketing opportunities,
domestically, regionally and internationally, and these changes are providing
substantial but often hidden economic benefits. At the same time, the book also
shows very clearly how we also need to accelerate support to alternative livelihood
options in addition to supporting pastoralism and livestock production.’
– Abebe Haile Gabriel, Director, Department of Rural Economy
and Agriculture, African Union Commission
‘There is a rich array of case studies in this book, which capture the vitality and
innovation of pastoral societies. They are a welcome antidote to the negativity that
infects far too much of the discourse on pastoralism. Each chapter also illuminates
the forces that are driving change in pastoral areas and the impact of change on rich
and poor, women and men. In such a fluid environment, policy-makers and
practitioners need to start ‘seeing like pastoralists’ if they are to find the right way
forward. This book will help us do so.’
– Mohamed Elmi, Minister of State for Development of Northern Kenya
and other Arid Lands, Kenya
‘This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of pastoralism
in Africa. In Ethiopia, pastoralism is a vital economic sector and essential for the
country’s development. This book will provide important guidance for both
policymakers and development practitioners.’
Ahmed Shide, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development, Ethiopia
‘This book is exceptionally deep in the analysis of the conditions of pastoralists and
provides far-sighted and comprehensive options for improving their livelihoods
within the context of country-specific reality and regional and global challenges.
Understanding the resilience of pastoralists in the face of growing complex
challenges moves us away from a focus on traditional coping strategies to innovative
efforts which provide more robust and sustainable solutions for the livelihoods of
Luka Biong Deng, formerly National Minister
for Cabinet Affairs of Sudan
‘This is a candid and thought provoking scrutiny of some of the diverse, complex
and often emotive issues around pastoral development and investment. The book
is an important and timely resource as African countries embark on securing the
future of pastoralists as espoused by the recently approved AU Policy Framework
for Pastoralism in Africa.’
Simplice Nouala, African Union Inter-African Bureau for
Animal Resources (AU-IBAR)
‘This book is a fascinating, timely collection of case studies by researchers, activists
and policymakers (many of whom are African pastoralists themselves) that document
the creativity of pastoralists in seeking economically secure, politically stable and
environmentally sustainable livelihoods – and the many challenges they face.? By
analyzing what pastoralists are actually doing (rather than dictating what they should
be doing), the book will be of tremendous value to anyone with an interest in the
future of pastoralists and pastoralism in the Greater Horn of Africa.’
Dorothy Hodgson, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, USA
‘This book drives home the tremendous scale and pace of change in northeast African
pastoralism. Grounded in authoritative knowledge of general context as well as
incisive analysis of social and historical particularities, the book spans resources and
production, commercialisation and markets, land and conflict, established and
emerging alternative livelihoods. The book brings alive the way this seemingly
remote and notoriously volatile region, with its rapid and violent shifts in socio-
political and biophysical environments, connects at all levels with national and
international arenas, policies and economic flows. It traces the multiple and divergent
directions of pastoralist enterprise, the risks run and opportunities seized, the striking
innovations developed alongside robust, tried and tested strategies being maintained,
and the successful diversification for some as against spiralling impoverishment for
others. The book conveys the vigour, dynamism and adaptability of these arid and
semi arid land populations, and their ability to embrace and exploit change, in a
context of policies that too often constrain rather than enable.’
Katherine Homewood, University College London, UK
‘This timely and highly relevant publication challenges the prevailing view that there
is no future for pastoralism in the Horn of Africa. It further advances the debate and
deepens our understanding of pastoralism and its dynamics in the drylands of Africa,
providing a nuanced and differentiated analysis of its potential and limitations in the
face of new opportunities and challenges. Its detailed case studies and fresh empirical
evidence offer clear insights into a range of potential pathways for the development
of these complex and uncertain environments.’
Ced Hesse, International Institute for Environment
and Development, UK
‘This important book helps narrow the prevailing knowledge gap on pastoralism
and pastoral development.’
Tezera Getahun, Executive Director, Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia
‘This book, about one of the most diverse pastoral regions of the world, brings
together many cutting-edge studies on the sustainability of pastoral development.
The book provides cause for optimism as well as pause for thought, since
pastoralism is evidently thriving in drylands that are also home to some of the
world’s worst poverty. The book illustrates how sustainable pastoralist development
depends on development partners doing what pastoralists have always done:
managing complexity.’
Jonathan Davies, Global Drylands Initiative, IUCN,
the International Union for Conservation of Nature
Dynamic change at the margins
Edited by Andy Catley,
Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones
First edition published 2013
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business
© 2013 Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones selection and editorial
material; individual chapters, the contributors
The right of the editors to be identified as the author of the editorial material,
and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance
with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The Open Access version of this book, available at,
has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non
Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pastoralism and development in Africa : dynamic change at the margins / edited
by Ian Scoones, Andy Catley and Jeremy Lind. — 1st ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Herders—Horn of Africa—Economic conditions. 2. Herders—Africa,
Eastern—Economic conditions. 3. Pastoral systems—Horn of Africa. 4. Pastoral
systems—Africa, Eastern. 5. Horn of Africa—Economic conditions. 6. Africa,
Eastern—Economic conditions. 7. Economic development—Horn of Africa.
8. Economic development—Africa, Eastern. I. Scoones, Ian. II. Catley, Andy.
III. Lind, Jeremy.
GN650.P39 2013
ISBN13: 978–0–415–54071–1 (hbk)
ISBN13: 978–0–415–54072–8 (pbk)
ISBN13: 978–0–203–10597–9 (ebk)
DOI: 10.4324/9780203105979
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
1 Development at the margins: pastoralism in the Horn of Africa
Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones
Resources and production 27
2 The sustainability of pastoral production in Africa
Gufu Oba
3 Rangeland enclosures in Southern Oromia, Ethiopia: an
innovative response or the erosion of common property
Boku Tache
4 Pastoralists and irrigation in the Horn of Africa: time for a
Stephen Sandford
viii Contents
5 Counting the costs: replacing pastoralism with irrigated
agriculture in the Awash Valley
Roy Behnke and Carol Kerven
6 Climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa: what consequences
for pastoralism?
Polly Ericksen, Jan de Leeuw, Philip Thornton, Mohamed Said,
Mario Herrero and An Notenbaert
Commercialization and markets 83
7 Moving up or moving out? Commercialization, growth and
destitution in pastoralist areas
Andy Catley and Yacob Aklilu
8 Pastoralists’ innovative responses to new camel export market
opportunities on the Kenya/Ethiopia borderlands
Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud
9 ‘Responsible companies’ and African livestock-keepers:
helping, teaching but not learning?
John Morton
10 Town camels and milk villages: the growth of camel milk
marketing in the Somali Region of Ethiopia
Abdi Abdullahi, Seid Mohammed and Abdirahman Eid
Land and conflict 129
11 The future of pastoralist conflict in the Horn of Africa
Paul Goldsmith
12 Land grabbing in the Eastern African rangelands
John G. Galaty
13 Land deals and the changing political economy of livelihoods
in the Tana Delta, Kenya
Abdirizak Arale Nunow
Contents ix
14 Squeezed from all sides: changing resource tenure and
pastoralist innovation on the Laikipia Plateau, Kenya
John Letai and Jeremy Lind
15 Mobile pastoralism and land grabbing in Sudan: impacts and
Mustafa Babiker
16 The need to strengthen land laws in Ethiopia to protect pastoral
Abebe Mulatu and Solomon Bekure
Alternative livelihoods 195
17 Seeking alternative livelihoods in pastoral areas
Elliot Fratkin
18 Reaching pastoralists with formal education: a distance-learning
strategy for Kenya
David Siele, Jeremy Swift and Saverio Krätli
19 Social protection for pastoralists
Stephen Devereux and Karen Tibbo
20 Women and economic diversification in pastoralist societies:
a regional perspective
John Livingstone and Everse Ruhindi
Endpiece 241
21 Reflections on the future of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa
Peter D. Little
1.1 The Greater Horn of Africa 4
1.2 Four scenarios for the future of pastoralism 15
5.1 The Awash Basin 59
5.2 Revenue per hectare – cane cultivation, livestock production, and
sugar processing 65
5.3 Revenue per hectare – alternative uses of the Awash floodplain 66
6.1 Variation of monthly and 12 month running average of NDVI for
Kajiado district from 1982 to end of 2009 73
6.2 Relation between total animal biomass (dots, g.m-2) and the five
year running average of NDVI from 1987 to 2009, Kajiado district,
Kenya 74
6.3 Areas in East Africa that may undergo a flip in maximum
temperature overall and during the growing season 76
6.4 Areas in East Africa where a) rain per rainy day may increase by
more than 10 per cent and b) rain per rainy day may decrease
by more than 10 per cent 76
6.5 Changes in ratio of shoats (sheep and goats) to cattle 1977–78 and
2005–10 in Kenya 80
7.1 The ‘moving up, moving out’ scenario – trends in livestock
ownership by wealth group over 60 years (1944-2004), Shinile
zone, Somali Region 90
7.2 Short-term trends in livestock ownership by wealth group,
lowland Hawd area, Somali Region 90
7.3 Mean annual rainfall patterns in pastoralist areas of Ethiopia,
Somalia, Somaliland and Kenya 93
7.4 Simple modeling of long-term trends in high export pastoralist
areas and impacts on wealth groups 94
xii Figures
8.1 Camels slaughtered in Garissa town, 1999–2009 104
10.1 Map showing milk trading routes 126
13.1 Location of the Tana River District in Kenya 156
13.2 The River Tana Delta 157
14.1 Land uses on the Laikipia Plateau 167
14.2 Livestock movements from group ranches to Mt. Kenya and the
Aberdares in 2009 172
17.1 Measures of malnutrition for weight-by-age, pastoral versus
sedentary samples, wasting defined as below -2 Z-scores 204
17.2 Measures of malnutrition for height-by-age, pastoral versus
sedentary samples, stunting defined as below -2 Z-scores 204
1.1 Contrasting visions of development at the margins 22
3.1 Examples of violent internal conflicts over enclosures in selected
kebeles, Moyale District in 2009 and 2010 45
4.1 Irrigable land and the number of pastoralists in the Horn of Africa 49
4.2 Benefits and costs of irrigated small-holdings on four pastoralist-
related irrigation schemes 53
5.1 Head of stock and breeding females supported per hectare of
valley grazing alternate stocking rates 60
5.2 Gross value in 2009 of live animal, meat and milk for human
consumption, EB per hectare per annum at two stocking densities 61
5.3 Husbandry costs in 2009 exclusive of weaponry and security
provision at two stocking rates in EB 61
5.4 Net returns in 2009 to one hectare of riverine land under seasonal
pastoral land use in EB 62
5.5 MAADE yields, operating expenses and revenue from seed cotton,
1980–90 63
5.6 MAADE yields, costs and revenue from cotton production and
processing, 2004–09 63
6.1 GCM consistencies in regional precipitation projections for 2090–99 77
7.1 Volume and value of livestock exports from Ethiopia 87
7.2 Livestock exports from Somaliland 88
7.3 Annual pastoral household income from livestock sales in Somali
areas of Kenya, and Borana and Guji areas of Ethiopia 88
7.4 Trend analysis of annual total rainfall by location, Kenya, Ethiopia
and Somalia 94
8.1 Grades, body description and prices in Moyale, Ethiopia market,
2010 102
xiv Tables
8.2 Estimating the value of camel sales at Moyale, Ethiopia market 103
10.1 Urban camel milk production in Gode, Somali Region 124
13.1 Known details and status of proposed land deals in the Tana Delta 158
14.1 Benefits of herder-farmer agreements 173
15.1 Recent land deals in Sudan 179
15.2 Changes in land use in Gedaref State, 1941–2002 181
17.1 Income generation sources among Northern Kenyan pastoralist
households 202
19.1 Classifying social protection interventions for pastoral areas 220
Abdi Abdullahi has an M.A. from the Institute of Development Studies at the
University of Sussex. He has more than 30 years of experience working as a
development practitioner serving in different capacities in various international and
national NGOs concerned with pastoral issues in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
He is currently leading an Ethiopian NGO, Pastoral Concern.
Yacob Aklilu is a senior researcher at the Feinstein International Center, Tufts
University. He is a livelihoods specialist with in-depth knowledge of humanitarian
and development programming and policies in Africa. An agricultural economist,
he has more than 25 years’ experience of policy analysis and reform at national and
regional levels. He has specialist knowledge of livestock marketing at domestic,
regional and international levels and was the instigator of the Pastoral Livestock
Marketing Groups approach in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Mustafa Babiker has worked with the Development Studies and Research Institute
(DSRI), University of Khartoum since 1988. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology and
social anthropology. Currently he is seconded to Sultan Qaboos University in
Oman. His main research interests are in the field of natural resource management
and conflict in pastoral areas.
Roy Behnke was trained in Islamic studies and social anthropology at the
Universities of Chicago and California, and undertakes research on extensive
livestock production and rangeland management in semi-arid Africa and Central Asia.
He is a Fellow of Imperial College London and a researcher for the Odessa Centre
Ltd. Currently he is conducting research on pastoral land use in Turkmenistan and
attempting to quantify the economic contribution of livestock to national economies
in East Africa.
xvi Contributors
Solomon Bekure is an economist with more than 40 years of extensive experience
in academia (Haile Selassie I University, 1963–65 and 1970–72), government
(Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, 1974–76), national and international research
(ILRI, 1976–1998) and development and finance institutions (the World Bank,
1988–2002 and the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank of Ethiopia,
1972–74). Throughout he has had a focus on agricultural policy, rural development,
livestock production, marketing, finance, natural resources and land tenure and land-
use systems. He has led multidisciplinary teams in formulating, reviewing, monitor-
ing, and evaluating the policies, performance and status of the agriculture sector of
many African countries. He has worked in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana,
Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He graduated
from Oklahoma State University, U.S.A. with a Ph.D. (1970) and M.Sc. (1967) and
Haile Selassie I University (1963).
Andy Catley is a research director at the Feinstein International Center, Tufts
University. He established the Center’s Africa Regional Office in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia in 2005, and has worked on development and humanitarian issues in
pastoralist areas of the Horn of Africa since 1992.
Jan de Leeuw is a team leader at ILRI in Nairobi, leading research on vulnerability
in pastoral systems. He holds a Ph.D. in ecology. He has worked in higher education
and research in environmental science in a wide variety of environments around the
world. At ILRI, he works on ways to reduce pastoral vulnerability, including early
warning systems and more appropriate drought relief strategies, and options for
livelihood diversification through payment for environmental services. Current
activities include mapping and valuation of ecosystem services in drylands, assessment
of the potential for carbon sequestration in African dryland ecosystems and economic
analysis of benefits derived from income from wildlife based tourism in conservancies
in Kenya.
Stephen Devereux has been a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies since
1996. He is a food security and social protection specialist whose research has been
conducted mainly in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. His work with pastoralists
includes a survey (as team leader) of livelihoods and vulnerability in the Somali
Region, Ethiopia, and an evaluation (as a team member) of the Hunger Safety Net
Programme in arid and semi-arid districts of northern Kenya.
Abdirahman Eid has a Masters degree in agricultural economics from Haramaya
University. He has five years of experience working in Somali Regional Research
Institution, Somali Regional Agriculture Bureau where he once served as deputy
head. He is currently a lecturer at Jigjiga University.
Polly Ericksen is a senior scientist at ILRI in Nairobi, Kenya. Her specific areas
of research are adapting food systems to enhance both food security and key
Contributors xvii
ecosystem services; options for lessening the vulnerability of pastoral livelihoods to
climate and other shocks; strategies for adaptation to climate change in agricultural
systems; and using participatory scenarios for planning under uncertainty. She holds
a B.A. in history, an M.Sc. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Soil Science. She has
worked extensively in Latin America, Africa and South Asia with both research and
development organizations.
Elliot Fratkin is a professor of Anthropology at Smith College in Northampton,
Massachusetts, a member of the graduate faculty of the University of Massachusetts-
Amherst, and editor of the African Studies Review. He has studied nomadic pastoralists
in East Africa since the 1970s, particularly Ariaal (mixed Samburu/Rendille) of
northern Kenya. In 2003 Fratkin was a US Fulbright Scholar at the University of
Asmara in Eritrea and in 2011–12 at Hawassa University in Ethiopia.
John G. Galaty pursued his graduate studies in Anthropology at the University of
Chicago and in Paris. He is now a professor in the Department of Anthropology,
an associate member of the McGill School of the Environment, president of the
McGill Association of University Teachers, and director of the Centre for Society,
Technology and Development. He serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory
Board of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, is scientific advisor to
the International Foundation for Science, and is an editorial board member for
Nomadic Peoples. He has been president of the Canadian Association of African
Studies, an FAO expert and social analyst, and an international elections monitor
(in Kenya and Tanzania) for Rights and Democracy. He has worked closely with
pastoral communities in Kenya and Tanzania as a researcher, an international advisor
to the IDRC Arid Lands and Resource Management Network (ALARM), and
director of McGill’s ongoing Pastoral Property and Poverty Project.
Paul Goldsmith completed a Ph.D. in anthropology and tropical agriculture from
the University of Florida. After graduating in 1993, he returned to Africa where he
has continued to undertake research, teach on a periodic basis, publish in the local
press and scholarly publications, and work actively with civil society initiatives. His
main areas of interest are pastoralism, environmental management, conflict analysis
and minority rights. He recently completed a study of the Mombasa Republic
Council, a secessionist movement on Kenya’s coast and is currently involved in
several projects on the coast and an advocacy campaign for indigenous land rights
and the ecological and cultural conservation of the Lamu archipelago.
Mario Herrero is a senior agro-ecological systems analyst with more than 15 years
experience working on livestock, livelihoods and the environment interactions in
Africa, Latin America and Asia. He leads ILRI’s Sustainable Livestock Futures Group
and he also coordinates ILRI’s work on climate change. He works in the areas of
livestock and global change, climate change (impacts, adaptation and mitigation),
development of scenarios of livestock and livelihoods futures, multi-scale integrated
xviii Contributors
assessment, sustainable development pathways for livestock systems, ex-ante impact
assessment of livestock interventions and investment opportunities, and others. He
has contributed to numerous international assessments and international task forces.
He has published widely in his areas of expertise and is currently on the editorial
board of Agricultural Systems, and a guest editor for the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences journal (PNAS) in the area of livestock, sustainability science and
global change.
Carol Kerven trained in social anthropology and is the director of the Odessa
Centre, Ltd, is a fellow of Imperial College London, and senior editor of the journal
Pastoralism: research, policy and practice. She has published extensively on pastoralism
in both Africa and Asia. She is currently investigating rangeland tenure in Kazakhstan
and continuing a long-term interest in the production and marketing of fine fibres
from pastoral livestock.
Saverio Krätli works as an independent researcher and scientific advisor specializing
in the interface between pastoral producers, science and development. His main
fieldwork experience is amongst the WoDaaBe (central Niger), Turkana (Kenya)
and Karamojong (Uganda). He is editor of Nomadic Peoples.
John Letai has over 16 years’ experience in the Horn and East Africa drylands
working with pastoralists and other marginalized groups living in these areas. He has
a wealth of knowledge in working with communities on natural resource man-
agement, insecurity or conflicts and other development issues. He is a strong
advocate of pastoral land tenure reform and has been involved in land policy
formulation, as well as policy advocacy and implementation. He has worked with
different actors including governments, local and national NGOs, international
organizations among them International Committee of the Red Cross, Resource
Conflict Institute (RECONCILE), IIED and Oxfam GB.
Jeremy Lind is a development geographer with over 10 years’ research and advisory
experience on livelihoods, conflict and the delivery of aid in pastoral areas of the
Horn of Africa. He is currently a research fellow at the Institute of Development
Studies (IDS), where he jointly convenes a research theme on Pastoralism for the
Future Agricultures Consortium. An area of his work relating to pastoralism
concerns the linkages between resources and conflict. He (co)edited Scarcity and
surfeit: the ecology of Africa’s conflicts (2002).
Peter D. Little is an economic and development anthropologist who received his
graduate training in anthropology from Indiana University. Currently he is a
professor of Anthropology and Director of Emory University’s new Development
Studies Program. Prior to moving to Emory he most recently was chair and professor
of Anthropology, University of Kentucky (1994–2007). During the past 27 years,
his research has addressed the anthropology of development and globalization,
Contributors xix
political economy of agrarian change, pastoralism, environmental politics and
change, informal economies and statelessness, and food insecurity in several African
countries. Most of his field studies have been conducted in Africa, with a primary
emphasis on eastern Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia).
John Livingstone studied economics at the University of Warwick and Queen
Mary College (London). After brief stints as a researcher at UEA (Norwich) and the
Institute for European–Latin American relations (Madrid) in the 1990s, he has
worked as a consultant for several international development agencies and as regional
policy officer for PENHA (the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn
of Africa), a non-profit organization focused on pastoralism.
Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University
of Kentucky and is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences, Pwani
University College, Kilifi, a constituent college of Kenyatta University, Kenya.
His current research projects include an association with the Future Agricultures
Consortium as a researcher and co-convener of the Pastoralism Theme. He is also
Co-PI on the Climate Induced Vulnerability and Pastoralist Livestock Marketing
Chains in the Horn of Africa project with Peter Little at Emory University. He was
lead researcher on CARE/FAO/DFID project on Sustainable Pastoralism in Sool
and Sanaag Regions of Northern Somalia and on the Informal Cross-Border
Livestock Trade on the Kenya/Somalia Borderlands project of the FAO Subregional
Office for Eastern Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Seid Mohammed has an M.Sc. in Tropical Ecology and Management of Natural
Resources from the University of Life Sciences, Norway. He has five years of
experience teaching pastoral related subjects such as range ecology and management
in both in Mekelle and Jigjiga Universities, Ethiopia. Currently he is serving as
Academic and Research Vice President of Jigjiga University.
John Morton has a B.A. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge
and a Ph.D. from the University of Hull. He has worked at the Natural Resources
Institute, University of Greenwich since 1993, most recently as a professor of
Development Anthropology, and head of the Livelihoods and Institutions
Department. His work focuses on social, institutional and policy aspects of livestock
and pastoralist development, as well as on climate change impacts on pastoralists and
on the rural poor in general. He has field experience in numerous African countries
(especially in the Horn of Africa), South Asia and Mongolia.
Abebe Mulatu is a property rights lawyer working with the Ethiopia –
Strengthening Land Administration Program, a USAID assisted project implemented
by Tetra Tech ARD, providing technical and financial assistance to the regional
states of Afar and Somali among others. He was a Land Tenure and Land Dispute
specialist (2005–08) in a preceding project. He has worked as Head of the Property
xx Contributors
Laws Reform Department in the Ethiopian Justice and Legal System Reform
Institute, a government think tank between 1999 and 2005. He was also a part-time
lecturer in law at the Addis Ababa University, Law Faculty and the Ethiopian Civil
Service College, Law Faculty (1998–2008). He has consulted for various organiza-
tions on policy and regulatory frameworks regarding land tenure and natural
resource administration and management. He holds an LL.M. degree from Temple
University School of Law, Philadelphia (1996) and an LL.B. degree from the Law
Faculty of Addis Ababa University (1986).
An Notenbaert is a land use planner with 15 years of research and development
experience in Belgium and Africa. Currently she is working as a Spatial Analyst
working in the ‘Sustainable Livestock Futures’ programme at ILRI. In this capacity
she provides spatial analysis for a wide range of studies across the institute, thereby
interacting with and supporting a multi-disciplinary research team of economists,
systems analysts, natural resource managers, epidemiologists, etc. Her work focuses
on methodologies for strategic analysis on the poverty–environment nexus with a
special interest in climate change issues.
Abdirizak Arale Nunow was born in Garissa District, among the Somali
pastoralists of north-eastern Kenya. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental
Science from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and his dissertation
studied the market participation of the pastoralists with a view to improving their
food security situation. He also holds an M.Phil. degree in Environmental Planning
and Management (Moi University, 1994) and a B.A. in Economics and Business
Studies (Kenyatta University, 1990). He has over 17 years’ experience in develop-
ment issues in arid and semi-arid areas in Eastern Africa and his main interests include
commercialization of the pastoral economy and pastoral livelihood systems in the
drylands. He currently teaches in the School of Environmental Studies of Moi
University, Kenya, besides undertaking diverse consultancy work in land use systems
in the drylands and pastoralist studies in the Horn of Africa. He is currently involved
in research on pastoralist marketing and wealth differentiation of pastoral households
in commercialization of the pastoral economy.
Gufu Oba is a professor at the Department of International Environment and
Development Studies (Noragric) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He
is currently on a sabbatical at Emory University, Atlanta. He has since 1981 carried
out research on rangelands and pastoralists across Africa, with extended field experi-
ence in eastern Africa and the Horn, as well as Northern Namibia. He has combined
his long-term research working with pastoralists and his personal knowledge from
that background to develop new ways of understanding pastoralism and grazing
lands. He has published articles in more than 25 different scientific journals.
Everse Ruhindi graduated from Makerere University and did postgraduate studies
in Women’s Law and Business Administration. From the late 1990s, she has worked
Contributors xxi
in community development, with the Uganda Gender Resource Centre (UGRC)
and the Pastoral and Environmental Network in Horn of Africa (PENHA). She has
conducted action-oriented studies on a range of development issues, with a focus
on gender and women in pastoralist communities.
Mohammed Said is a research scientist working with ILRI and joined the institute
in 2003. His background is in ecological monitoring, specialising in aerial counts,
remote sensing, land use and land cover mapping, community mapping, spatial
analysis and modeling. His interest is in analysing information and linking knowledge
to various uses by community, researchers and decision makers in resource man-
agement. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from Wageningen University and ITC in
the Netherlands.
Stephen Sandford was born in Ethiopia and first travelled through the pastoral
areas of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia 70 years ago. From 1966 until 1968
he researched the economics of irrigation in East Africa. Between 1970 and 1975
he was a member of an Ethiopian government team that prepared ambitious projects
for pastoral development. The work included the construction and operation of a
pilot spate irrigation scheme for Afar pastoralists. From 1975 to 1982 he established
and ran the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Pastoral Development Network,
which for 20 years thereafter led the international exchange of information on
pastoral development. In 1983 he published an influential book on pastoral develop-
ment, Management of pastoral development in the third world. He subsequently worked
for the CGIAR’s International Livestock Centre for Africa and for the British NGO,
FARM Africa. Since 2000 he has become increasingly convinced (and noisy, under
the slogan ‘Too many people, too few livestock’) that the conventional approaches
to pastoral development, through improved animal health and better managed
rangelands, need to be matched by much greater efforts to assist pastoralists to
develop alternative livelihoods not dependent on animal production based on
rangelands. Recently he has been involved in planning an Ethiopian NGO’s project,
which includes irrigation, to assist pastoralists and adjacent farmers in Afar Region.
Ian Scoones is a professorial fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, co-
director of the ESRC STEPS Centre ( and joint coordinator
of the Future Agricultures Consortium ( He originally
trained as an ecologist but has since worked on the institutional and policy issues
surrounding agricultural and environmental change in Africa. He has worked on
livestock development issues in Africa for many years and was (co-) editor of Range
ecology at disequilibrium (1993) and Living with uncertainty: new directions in pastoral
development in Africa (1995).
David Siele is a holder of a M.Ed. degree from Leeds University. Earlier he
acquired a B.Ed. from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He served as a high
school teacher of physics and chemistry before moving to Kenya’s Ministry of
xxii Contributors
Education where he held several offices, including that of provincial director of
Education. Eventually he rose to the position of director of Higher Education at the
national office. Later he moved to the Ministry of Northern Kenya and Other Arid
Lands as a director in charge of human capital development. The ministry is
mandated with looking at alternative ways of reaching children from pastoralist
communities, hence the move to give them education through distance learning.
Jeremy Swift was formerly a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the
University of Sussex. He works on research and policy processes in nomadic pastoral
societies in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. His main interests include
natural resource management, conflict, education and famine.
Boku Tache was born into a pastoralist family in southern Ethiopia, trained in
sociology and social anthropology at Addis Ababa University, and received his Ph.D.
in Development Studies from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He has
worked for international organizations on pastoral development in Ethiopia, includ-
ing pastoral community health, social forestry, shared management of common
property resources, empowerment of customary institutions and participatory
resource mapping. His main areas of his research interest include social development
and poverty reduction, sustainable pastoral livelihoods, resource tenure issues,
culture and conservation, community-based natural resource management and
climate change and development, on which he has published articles and book
chapters. He is currently working as an independent consultant based in Addis
Philip Thornton is leader of the Integration for Decision Making research theme
of the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food
Security (CCAFS) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in
Nairobi, Kenya. He is also an honorary research fellow in the Institute of
Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. He holds
a Ph.D. in Farm Management from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
He has worked for over 25 years in Latin America, Europe, North America and
Africa in agricultural research for development. He has published widely on systems
modelling and impact assessment, with a current focus on the effects of global change
on agriculture in developing countries.
Karen Tibbo has 14 years of food security and livelihoods experience in Africa.
She was the Nairobi-based coordinator of the impact evaluation of the Hunger
Safety Net Programme in northern Kenya. Previously she was the regional social
protection adviser for CARE, based in Johannesburg, and an Oxfam food security
adviser for Southern Africa and Kenya. She also has worked with DFID and FAO.
This book has emerged out of a highly productive collaboration between the
pastoralism theme of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) (www.future- and the Pastoralist Livelihood Initiative (PLI) at the Feinstein
Center, Tufts University in Addis Ababa ( ). The contributions
to this book were originally presented at an international conference on ‘The future
of pastoralism in Africa’ held in Addis Ababa in March 2011 (http://www.future- The ‘end piece’, Chapter 21, was written by
Peter Little in response to the near-final manuscript.
We gratefully acknowledge support from the UK Department for International
Development (to FAC), the United States Agency for International Development in
Ethiopia (under the PLI) and CORDAID (for support to African conference
participants). We would like to thank Leah Plati, Oliver Burch and Shona McCulloch
at IDS and Fasil Yemane and Yemisrach Weldearegai at Tufts University in Addis
Ababa for making the conference a huge success, as well as the facilities and
communications team at the campus of the International Livestock Research Institute
where the conference was held. David Hughes and Liz Adams did a great job
providing communications support, and a conference website where the original
papers, plus videos, blogs and more are available. The conference was attended by
over 100 scholars, pastoralist representatives and officials from inter-governmental
agencies, governments and donors. We would like to thank all conference
participants for their many contributions to the conference, which have greatly
enriched the insights shared in this book.
Ced Hesse and Dorothy Hodgson shared critical feedback on the book outline,
and Katherine Homewood also commented on the full manuscript. The STEPS
Centre ‘Pathways to Sustainability’ series editors also provided useful guidance.
Indeed, many of the themes discussed at the conference and elaborated in this book
are central to the concerns of the STEPS Centre (, as
xxiv Acknowledgements
uncovering alternative pathways for development and towards sustainability often
does happen ‘at the margins’ and outside the mainstream.
Naomi Vernon and Manus McGrogan provided invaluable copy-editing
assistance. Marion Clarke worked efficiently at short notice with Alison Davies, a
map-maker, to produce several of the maps in the book. Acknowledgements linked
to individual chapter contributions are contained in the endnotes at the close of each
ABET Alternative Basic Education for Turkana
ACDI-VOCA Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers
in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
ADC Agricultural Development Corporation
AFCON Advanced Frigate Consortium of the US Army
ALRMP Arid Lands Resource Management Project
ASAL arid and semi-arid lands
ASARECA Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern
and Central Africa
AU African Union
CCAFS Challenge Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food
CCPP Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia
CEWARN Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism
CMIP3 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase Three
COMESA Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility
DCM Drought Cycle Management
DFID Department for International Development (UK)
DRSRS Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing
EAC East Africa Community
EB Ethiopian Birr
EDRI Ethiopian Development Research Institute
EMOPs Emergency Operations
ENSO El Niño Southern Oscillation
EPRDF Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front
EWS Early Warning System
xxvi Abbreviations
FAC Future Agricultures Consortium
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FAOSTAT Food and Agriculture Organization Statistical Database
FCAR, now Québec Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l’Aide à la
FQRSC Recherche
FDRE Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
GCA Game Controlled Area
GCMs General Circulation Models
GSU General Services Unit
HHS High Heights Services
HSNP Hunger Safety Net Programme
HVA Handels Vereniging Amsterdam
IBLI Index-Based Livestock Insurance
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
ICU Islamic Courts Union
IDS Institute of Development Studies
IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development
IIED International Institute for Environment and Development
IK Industri Kapital
ILRI International Livestock Research Institute
INSEAD Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
ITCZ inter-tropical convergence zone
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature
KBC Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
KCPE Kenya Certificate of Primary Education
KIE Kenya Institute of Education
KIPOC Korongoro Integrated People Oriented to Conservation
KNEC Kenya National Examinations Council
LAPSSET Lamu Port South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor
LGP Length of the Growing Period
LIU Livelihoods Information Unit
MAADE Middle Awash Agricultural Development Enterprise
MDNKOAL Ministry for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid
MGNREGA Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
MIS Management Information Systems
MMD The Multi-Model Data Set
MOESTK Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
MPIDO Mainyoito Pastoral Development Organization
MRC Mombasa Republican Council
NACONEK National Commission on Nomadic Education in Kenya
NAO North Atlantic Oscillation
NDVI Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
Abbreviations xxvii
NPV Net Present Value
OBC Ortello Business Corporation
OECD Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
PARIMA Pastoral Risk Management Programme
PCMDI Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
PMAC Provisional Military Administration Council (Derg)
PRRO Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation
PSNP Productive Safety Net Programme
REC Regional Economic Community
SCUS Save the Children US
SCUK Save the Children UK
SNNPR Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State
SOS Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness Campaign, Uganda
SRES Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
TARDA Tana Athi River Development Authority
TLU Tropical Livestock Unit/Total Livestock Unit
TNRF Tanzania Natural Resource Forum
TSC Teachers Service Commission
UCRT Ujamaa Community Resource Team
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
UNOCHA United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
USAID The United States Agency for International Development
WCED World Commission on Environment and Development
WCRP World Climate Research Programme
WFP World Food Programme
WMA Wildlife Management Area
WMO World Meteorological Organization
Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa
Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones
Once again, the Horn of Africa has been in the headlines. Once again the news has
been bad: drought, famine, conflict, hunger, suffering and death. And once again,
development and humanitarian aid experts have said we need to rethink. The famine
of 2011–12 in southern Somalia and the humanitarian crisis in neighbouring areas
of Kenya and Ethiopia have undoubtedly caused immense human suffering. The
finger of blame has been pointed in numerous directions: to the changing climate,
to environmental degradation, to overpopulation, to political interference, to geo-
politics and conflict, to aid agency failures, and more. Of course this is not the first
– or likely the last – time that the Horn of Africa has featured so prominently in
global debates. But sadly the lessons are rarely learned and business-as-usual quickly
This book argues that, while we should not ignore the profound difficulties of
creating secure livelihoods for the majority of people in the Horn of Africa, there
is much to be learned from development successes, large and small, in these areas.
And that building from these is essential if future disasters are to be avoided. It offers
a more positive, yet also nuanced, assessment than the doom and gloom view of
powerless, suffering famine victims that is depicted by 24-hour news channels. It
argues that development pathways at ‘the margins’ are imagined and constructed in
new ways; ones that do not get recognized, appreciated or adopted easily by the
mainstream. Such pathways often remain hidden, under the radar, informal, some-
times illegal, sometimes in contradiction to the priorities and interests of national
political elites in the region, and rarely in line with standard, mainstream prescrip-
tions. But if we shift our gaze from London, Washington, Rome or Geneva, not to
the capital cities of Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Khartoum or Kampala, but to the regional
centres of Jijiga, Hargeisa, Garissa, Gode, Isiolo or Moyale, and their hinterlands,
DOI: 10.4324/9780203105979 -1
2 Catley et al.
then a very different set of development pathways emerge. These are the places
where pastoralists – people who gain a substantial portion of their livelihood from
livestock – live. They have for centuries struggled with drought, conflict and famine.
They are resourceful, entrepreneurial and innovative peoples by necessity. This book
addresses some of the recurrent misunderstandings about pastoral livelihoods,
highlighting the particular features of pastoral resource and land management
strategies, commercialization and marketing options, as well as wider livelihood
dilemmas in the drylands.1
A view of ‘development at the margins’ is one that highlights innovation and
entrepreneurialism, not just coping or adaptation, as well as cooperation and net-
working across social and ecological borders, not just conflict and armed violence.
It emphasizes diverse scenarios for responding to changing economic, ecological and
political drivers, with multiple pathways envisaged for the future development of
pastoral areas. It highlights the importance of the political and cultural contexts of
such areas as central to addressing development challenges, and moves us beyond an
‘aid’ or ‘project’-driven intervention focus to a more systemic understanding of the
complex, often uncertain, and always dynamic challenges and opportunities.
This book, focusing on pastoral societies across the Greater Horn of Africa (in
this book a broadly defined region2), is not simply a story of marginal peoples living
in marginal places, struggling in the face of exceptional hardships, remoteness and
outside of the development mainstream. The challenges and opportunities of
development at the margins have a far wider resonance in rethinking development
more generally. The creative projects and innovative repertoires of those living in
the margins offer many important lessons (Tsing, 1993). For, even in the places more
connected to the mainstream – the ‘high potential’ farming areas and the com-
paratively fecund highland areas of north-eastern Africa, which are usually contrasted
with the dryland ‘margins’ – we can observe many of the same challenges. The
uncertainties of highly liberalized financial systems, heightened vulnerability
provoked by climate change, variability of non-equilibrium ecologies, inequalities
generated by an engagement with global markets and trade, ambivalent relationships
between citizens and a retreating central state, threats posed by cross-border conflict
and unconventional warfare and scarcities unleashed by competition over limited
resources are evident in many places, not just at the so-called margins.
Just as with other ‘crises’ provoked by similar drivers, but in different contexts,
decision-makers are perplexed as to how to respond. The system is broken, they
say, but what do we do? In pastoral areas, many organizations – governments,
NGOs, donors and research groups – lack long-term strategies based on solid
evidence and insight into the multiple potential pathways for development. This
book offers a guide to more suitable responses. While our focus is on the particular
challenges of pastoral areas in the Horn of Africa, many of the emergent lessons are,
as we discuss below, of more general importance for recasting development as a
more effective response to current contexts characterized by uncertainty and
Development at the margins 3
Contexts, complexities and commonalities
The Greater Horn of Africa region is a highly dynamic political-economic region
(Figure 1.1), with different countries having very different political histories, cultural
and religious affiliations, geopolitical positioning and development pathways. The
colonial period split traditional socio-economic and spatial units with new state
borders, and so reconfigured dramatically social and economic systems (Clapham,
1996). Pastoralists often found themselves both on the physical edges of new states,
and in a situation where traditional movements to gain access to grazing, water or
markets were prohibited due to their nature of cutting across both borders within
new colonial states, as well as across newly established international boundaries. This
period marked the beginnings of pastoral geographical and political marginalization
in many countries (Lewis, 1983; Abbink, 1997; Schlee, 2003). In addition, colonial
policies further isolated pastoralists from development, with, for example, an empha-
sis on agrarian highland areas and livestock development strategies in the lowlands
based on ranching (Sandford, 1983; Baxter, 1991). African administrations in the
post-colonial era often adopted or re-enforced the colonial policies, and these old
attitudes and understandings are still very evident today, some 50 years or more after
independence. Even in Ethiopia, which was never colonized, misunderstandings at
a policy level about pastoralism, economics and mobility are strikingly similar today
to those in Kenya or Uganda. Whereas in 1965, Jomo Kenyatta’s economic
blueprint formalized the inequitable allocation of resources to agricultural areas,
Ethiopia’s relatively recent policies describe pastoral areas as ‘backward’ and within
the last five years, government resettlement schemes indicate that pastoralists should
be displaced from riverine areas to make way for more commercially orientated
investors (Lavers, 2012). The other defining aspects of pastoralist areas of the Horn
have been violent conflict and drought, and the related humanitarian crises and
famines. Natural and human causal factors combine in a deadly mix, as in the Afar
region of Ethiopia (Markakis, 2003; Unruh, 2005), Darfur in Sudan (de Waal, 1989;
Johnson, 2003; Young et al., 2005, 2009), the Uganda-Kenya border (Mkutu, 2007;
Lind, 2012) or in southern Somalia today.
While such generalizations of geographical and political marginalization,
misguided policy, and conflict and crisis apply to much of the Horn of Africa region,
there are marked differences in the specific ways these trends have played out in
different places. Each local set of conflict and livelihoods issues has a long and
complex history, a history that is often poorly understood by policy-makers and
development planners. Compare, for example, the myriad of contextual factors,
varying over time, that contributed to local conflict between the Somali Issa and
Oromo in eastern Ethiopia from the 1960s (Shide, 2005), conflict and livelihood
collapse in Karamoja in Uganda (Stites et al., 2007) or the violent drivers of famine
in Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan in the 1990s and early 2000s (Deng, 2002).
Variations occur between and within countries, and across time. There is no simple
cause–effect story for how crises emerge.
Further layers of complexity are evident in many pastoral areas because local
conflict, trade and livelihood issues are so often linked to national, regional and
4 Catley et al.
FIGURE 1.1 The Greater Horn of Africa.
international political and economic trends. Where, for example, does one draw a
boundary around the causes of conflict currently seen in South Sudan or Somalia?
Are the challenges facing pastoralism in South Sudan merely due to local conflict
drivers, or are there important north–south factors or, in some areas, cross-border
links to conflicts in northern Kenya and Uganda, and south-west Ethiopia? And if
so much of the conflict in South Sudan centres on the control of oil reserves in
Upper Nile, where do foreign interests become critical (Coalition for International
Justice 2006)? In Somalia, a long history of conflict is really a regional and inter-
national history. The regional elements include tensions with Ethiopia dating back
to the Ogaden war in the 1970s and before, and reflected more recently by
Ethiopian army incursions into southern Somalia in 2006. But would these events
have happened without Soviet and US interests in the Horn during the Cold War,
or more recent post-9/11 US foreign policy, framed around counter-terrorism
objectives, or tense Ethiopia-Eritrea relations and Ethiopia’s reliance on the Djibouti
Development at the margins 5
In order to understand both past and future pathways of change, in-depth,
longitudinal analysis of complex, interacting factors is required. There is no shortage
of high-quality research on the Horn of Africa. Consider the long-term research
efforts around livelihoods, conflict and crisis in Darfur (de Waal, 1989; Young et al.,
2005, 2009), the dynamics of the cross-border livestock trade from southern Somalia
(Little and Mahmoud, 2005), conflict analyses in Afar, Ethiopia (Markakis, 2003),
the emergence of stable government in Somaliland (Bradbury, 2008), and the
changes observed in Maasai (Galaty, this book), Turkana (Little and Leslie, 1999;
McCabe, 2004) and Rendille (Fratkin, 1991) areas of Kenya, or the Somali region
of Ethiopia (Devereux, 2006). Across the drylands of Africa, there is better
understanding of the dynamics of non-equilibrium environments (Ellis and Swift,
1988; Behnke et al., 1993; Vetter, 2005), and how pastoralists both live with and off
uncertainty (Scoones, 1995a; Little et al., 2001; Lybbert et al., 2004; Umar and
Baulch, 2007; Krätli and Schareika, 2010). Yet whether local or regional, the analysis
is becoming even more complex, with long-term trends combining with
unpredictable events and shifting narratives. Today the high-profile concerns are,
among others, climate change, counter-terrorism, food prices and global financial
crises. One might also ask how the profound political events in the Arab world will
affect conflict, oil and stability in the Horn. Or will the emergence of the ‘world’s
newest pseudostate’, being the US-backed buffer state of Azania/Jubaland in
southern Somalia (Thurston, 2011), help to support pastoralism, peace and trade, or
create new barriers? Furthermore, how will China’s increasing involvement in aid
in Africa affect pastoralists, and to what extent might China’s domestic policies affect
African thinking, as Goldsmith asks in this book? Against these storylines, the more
mundane, but possibly more important trends quietly continue: population growth,
commercialization and its impacts, and urbanization and out-migration.
Given the regional dimensions of livelihoods for so many pastoralists in the Horn,
harmonized regional policies and support to the African organizations mandated to
lead these processes are especially important. Yet, as in Europe, there are many
challenges in bringing together governments with contrasting histories and political
ideologies, and very different levels of legitimacy and stability. In terms of economies
and trade, different states are pulled in different directions – towards the Middle East
and North Africa, towards the highland core of East Africa or towards Central
Africa, depending on market, political and cultural ties. As a category therefore,
despite the pleas for integration, the Horn does not exist as a firm, easily definable
geographical, political or economic unit.
The formal policy structure that has emerged since the transition of the
Organization of African Unity into the African Union (AU) in 2002, places
responsibility on the AU for developing the broad policies for Africa’s develop-
ment. The policies of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) should
then follow the AU lead, but with regional adaptation suited to context. However,
many countries are members of more than one REC – Kenya and Uganda are
members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA),
the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the East Africa
6 Catley et al.
Community (EAC); while Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea are members of
both COMESA and IGAD. In addition, the importance of trade linkages across the
Red Sea is illustrated in other alliances and groupings, such as the trade-based Sana’a
Forum for Cooperation, comprising the four countries of Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia
and Yemen and, notably, excluding Eritrea. Despite the complexity of these
relationships, the common language of regional economic integration, and the free
movement of goods, services and people may offer opportunities for pastoralism.
While pastoralists might now be marginalized in terms of national economies, within
RECs they can become more formally recognized as being central to regional
economies. However, there are important caveats. The imperatives of regional
integration proclaimed by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and
repeated by many national governments, and highlighted especially by IGAD, EAC
and the AU, are centred on the presumed benefits of economic growth, modelled
on groupings such as the European Union (African Development Bank, 2010;
Mattli, 1999; Healy et al., 2009). Yet the wider political economy question of ‘inte-
gration for whom?’ is rarely asked. Of course, it depends on where your locus of
power and economic activity lies. Pastoralists have long been integrating economies
across borders, linking production systems and markets, in ways only dreamed about
by the economic planners. Yet such efforts have often fallen foul of national
regulations, border restrictions and laws created by national policy elites, who are
often culturally, economically and politically distant from pastoral people and areas.
Although pastoralists are often omitted from most official documents on regional
economic integration, an important exception is the 2010 AU Policy Framework
for Pastoralism in Africa which recognizes the economic, social and cultural
contributions of pastoralists both historically and into the future (African Union,
2010). At the highest level of policy-making in Africa, the framework directly
addresses many of the myths surrounding pastoralism, and formally calls for national
and regional processes that prioritize the involvement of pastoralists and their
institutions in policy-making. In the following section we discuss the vibrant and
substantial market activity in and out of pastoralist areas and, contrary to many
national policies, the AU framework recognizes this activity and aims to develop it
further. While there is clearly much work to be done to align national and regional
policies with the AU policy, for the first time Africa has a continent-wide and
progressive policy on pastoralism.
Trade matters
One of the most persistent policy and development myths around pastoralism has
been the picture of the conservative herder, bound by a primitive cultural imperative
to build his herd for the sake of ego and prestige, and sell as few animals as possible
(Herskovits, 1926). It is a story that is still heard today in government and donor
meetings, and underpins the misguided programmes that aim to make pastoralists
understand markets and behave more rationally. Yet, as the first section of this book
shows, the livestock trade networks emerging from pastoralist areas of the Horn are
Development at the margins 7
so massive that Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia can be categorized as ‘high export’
countries (Aklilu and Catley, this book). The significance of pastoral trade becomes
clearer when our gaze shifts again, away from the capitals and towards the flows of
people, livestock and commerce that emanate from the places at the borders of the
nation state. Connecting huge hinterlands to key terminal markets, in Nairobi, Addis
Ababa, Khartoum, and outside the region to Kinshasa to the south or Cairo and the
Arabian Peninsula to the north and east, the livestock trade, and the huge range of
economic activity associated with it – transport, marketing, finance, processing and
so on – portrays a very different economic geography.
This makes a broader regional perspective on ‘the Horn’ much more real,
envisaged as a complex network connecting producing areas with intermediary
markets and ports and terminal markets. Almost without exception, these vibrant
commercial routes cut across borders. They involve the movement of camels, cattle,
goats and sheep which are traded in vast numbers across the region and inter-
nationally (Catley and Aklilu, this book; Mahmoud, this book). Consider estimates
of livestock exports from Sudan, which for decades has been exporting around 1.5
million pastoral sheep, 200,000 camels and 100,000 goats annually (apart from 2007
and 2008) (Aklilu and Catley, 2009). Similarly, the Somaliland port of Berbera
receives livestock from the Somali Region of Ethiopia and locally, and exported 1.6
million sheep and goats, 136,000 cattle and 97,000 camels in 2010 (Somaliland
Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry, 2010). To these figures we can
add the formal livestock and meat export values from Ethiopia for 2010–11 (Catley
and Aklilu, this book) – derived mainly from pastoralist areas – and reach a
provisional total livestock export value from these three countries that exceeds
US$500 million in 2010. However, to this figure we should also add the cattle
exports from southern Somalia into Kenya, valued at US$8.8 million in 2000 (Little,
2003), but rising to around US$13.6 million in 2007.3 In addition, there are livestock
exports from other large and small ports along the Somali coast, from Djibouti and
from Mombasa, plus a substantial domestic livestock trade in Djibouti, Ethiopia,
Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. It seems feasible, therefore, to propose
a pastoral livestock and meat trade value approaching US$1 billion for the Horn in
2010. Yet this trade remains under-valued at national level, with countries such as
Kenya and Ethiopia continuing to misrepresent the livestock economy, and there-
fore the pastoral economy, in national planning processes. In Kenya, comprehensive
assessment of the contribution of livestock to gross domestic product valued
livestock 150 per cent higher than government figures (Behnke and Muthami,
2011), whereas in Ethiopia, a similar study valued livestock at 350 per cent higher
than government figures (Behnke and Muthami, 2011). This analysis points to
the wider challenge of understanding the total economic value of pastoralism,
given the diverse range of goods and services that pastoralists provide (Hesse and
MacGregor, 2006).
Pastoralists have adapted to, rather than ignored, market demands and oppor-
tunities. In the 1980s, Somalis shifted the species composition of their herds away
from camels to cattle in response to export demands (Al-Najim, 1991), whereas the
8 Catley et al.
last few years have seen a shift back to camels and, indeed, a boom in camel prices
and expansion of trade (Mahmoud, this book). In Ethiopia, a substantial internal
camel trade has evolved in response to demand for camels in the highlands, involving
networks that cover 2000km and cross four regions of the country (Aklilu and
Catley, 2011). Also linked to camel exports to Sudan, this trade was valued at
US$61 million in 2010 and evolved without aid or government programmes. Other
local initiatives include the emergence of private abattoirs in pastoral areas of Somalia
and Somaliland, with exports of chilled meat to the Gulf States using privately
owned aircraft. Engagements with the private sector, sometimes under the banner
of ‘corporate social responsibility’ are growing, with a diversity of marketing and
service provision relationships being developed (Morton, this book). Further types
of pastoral market-based adaptations are seen in the area of milk marketing, as
pastoralists organize themselves to supply milk to growing urban populations within
pastoral areas (for example, see Abdullahi et al., this book) but also to those who
out-migrated and reside in cities such as Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and even London.
In eastern Ethiopia, camel milk is collected from pastoral producers and flown to
the Gulf, while recent developments in Kenya include the processing and packing
of camel milk for sale in supermarkets and other outlets. All these changes do not
depend on aid or government, are dramatically assisted by technological change in,
for example, the expansion of mobile phone networks or milk processing and
packing, and reflect a market response to changing consumer preferences in import-
ing countries. In other words, new pathways are emerging, responding to changing
conditions, but often under-the-radar, and outside the influence and control of aid
interventions or state policies, yet facilitated by changing technological and market
Some of the fastest growing urban areas in Africa are linked to these pastoral trade
activities. The town of Garissa in north-eastern Kenya has grown from 14,076
people in 19795 to an estimated 250,000 people in 2008, driven by the livestock
trade, but also, refugees from Somalia and destitute pastoralists locally (Gedi et al.,
2008). The price of goats/sheep, camels and cattle for export from the Port of
Bosasso increased threefold between 2000 and 2006.6 And the growing wealth of
cities like Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Khartoum and Kampala, as well as regional towns
such as Mbarara, Nakuru, Isiolo, Kassala, and Adama provide a burgeoning demand
for meat and animal products. The ‘livestock revolution’ (cf. Delgado et al., 1999)
is happening in Africa, and is centred on the Horn. Yet this revolution does not
follow the standard prescriptions. This trade is largely unregulated, and run by a vast
network of producers and traders, financiers and transporters who must continually
find ways round customs restrictions, excessive taxation, border restrictions, out-
dated veterinary controls and conflict in order to make their businesses profitable.
They are the quintessential ‘free marketeers’ so lauded by the liberalizers at institu-
tions like the World Bank, yet are rarely given necessary support or encouragement.
At the same time, major ‘contraband’ trade routes flourish, where vast quantities of
clothes, electronics, cigarettes and household utensils are imported unofficially into
cross-border pastoral areas. Typically, central governments link this trade to the
Development at the margins 9
apparently wayward and illegal tendencies of pastoralists, and overlook the fact that
much ‘contraband’ does not stay in pastoral areas, but finds its way to capital cities
and major towns with the involvement of government officials, politicians, well-
connected business people, as well as the police and military. The political economy
of this trade, and its links to the pastoral economy, remain both under-researched
and highly sensitive. But any analysis quickly reveals how the maintenance of
illegality and instability at the margins in pastoral areas reaps benefits for many non-
pastoral and government actors.
Development challenges: seas of failure, islands of success
Driving through pastoralist areas of the Horn in 2011, a common sight is that of a
dilapidated irrigation scheme, cattle dip tank, livestock market or borehole, all
constructed by aid programmes. In some places, a series of defunct facilities of the
same type are positioned right next to each other, and in various states of decay,
depending on the decade in which they were built – often by the same donor. It
seems that not only did development planners fail to understand pastoralism and its
opportunities in the 1970s (Sandford, 1983), but the same trend continues today.
Taking the example of the highly dynamic and successful pastoral livestock trade
networks outlined above, almost inevitably, a Western aid response is to formalize
and organize, cleanse and control. Rather than seeing a billion dollars of dynamic
trade activity in one of the most hostile regions in the world, the misperception is
one of inefficiency, disorganization, disease risks and tax avoidance.
We must ask: should pastoralists really be forced to comply with a set of
international standards developed for European markets with different disease
dynamics and consumer preferences, especially when those same standards are based
on outdated science?7 Even if European consumers wanted meat from pastoral
areas, will African countries ever really compete in these high-value markets when
exporters from Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are already so
dominant? Furthermore, what is the appropriate market infrastructure and support
required in pastoral areas if so much trade already takes place in simple market yards
anyway? Would high-cost holding pens and abattoirs, designed for Texas or Utah,
add significant value, or instead is there something more appropriate to the flexible,
low-cost marketing systems of the region? If there is one area of development where
the concept of ‘appropriate technology’ was lost for decades, it is pastoral livestock
In the same vein, substantial policy and extension effort has been invested in
range management in the dry rangelands of Africa with the aim of replicating the
managed ranches of the US or Australia, with fencing, rotational grazing and other
approaches. Yet traditional mobile pastoral systems have consistently shown
themselves to be more productive than ranch systems in African settings (Western,
1982; Breman and de Wit, 1983; Behnke, 1985a; Cossins and Upton, 1988; Hogg,
1992; Abel, 1993), and external models have consistently failed (Scoones, 1995a;
De Jode, 2010).
10 Catley et al.
Thus development pathways, defined by regulatory, market and technological
dimensions, are repeatedly being constructed through ill-informed and outdated
policy framings, which are out of kilter with the emerging alternative pathways on
the ground. But, while poorly designed projects will inevitably fail, more appropriate
investments may make a big difference. Where designs have taken account of local
circumstances and priorities, and where pastoralists themselves have been involved,
the success rate is much higher. Examples include the development of privatized
community-based animal health worker systems in pastoral areas of Ethiopia and
official endorsement of these systems in 2004 (Admassu, 2002), and, related to these
approaches, the eradication of rinderpest in the Afar region of Ethiopia and South
Sudan in the 1990s (Catley and Leyland, 2001). Other livestock examples include
support to small-scale women’s dairy groups in northern Kenya (Aklilu, 2004), the
introduction of commercial destocking to Ethiopia (Abebe et al., 2008) and working
with pastoralists to design and evaluate livestock feed supplementation during
drought (Bekele and Abera, 2008). Although difficult to design and implement well,
restocking projects after drought can help to shift pastoralists away from food aid,
especially when drawing on traditional restocking systems (Lotira Arasio, 2004;
Wekessa, 2005). Livelihood-based approaches to drought response, such as
destocking and restocking, livestock feed supplementation, and veterinary voucher
schemes, have been incorporated into the global standards and guidelines for
humanitarian crises (LEGS, 2009), offering potential for good practice to be further
applied in pastoral areas. There have also been numerous community-based peace
building initiatives in pastoralist areas, focusing on conflict management between
groups within and across borders. These approaches can lead to local peace
agreements and reductions in conflict during project implementation, but the gains
are fragile and often undermined by higher-level political interference (e.g. Minear,
2001). Siele et al. (this book) highlight another type of innovation: a distance
learning system for the education of nomadic children developed by the Kenyan
government using a combination of radio programmes, mobile tutors and audio/
print materials. As they explain, the initiative is emblematic of an important shift in
the mindset of state planners in Kenya towards tailoring service delivery approaches
to the fundamental requirements of nomadic pastoralists to be flexible and mobile.
Despite such bright spots demonstrating the possibilities of alternative pathways,
overall, mainstream pastoral development is a litany of failure, involving substan-
tial sums of wasted resources (Hogg, 1987, 1988; Baxter, 1991; de Haan, 1994;
Anderson and Broch-Due, 1999). For many in the aid industry and in national
governments, pastoral areas are poor investments, destined for failure, where no
‘quick wins’ are possible. With such a track record this view appears, on the surface,
to be justified. The response from the capital cities and the donor or NGO
headquarters has been either to abandon such areas, or impose radical new solutions,
including privatization of the rangeland to foster the emergence of a commercial
ranching sector, forced (or semi-voluntary) sedentarization in towns and in irriga-
tion schemes, large scale infrastructure investments (such as dams) to attract
alternative uses (such as irrigated plantations) or selling the marginality of such
Development at the margins 11
places as a tourist destination, with exotic people, charismatic wildlife and dramatic,
‘empty’ landscapes.
As reflected in the chapters of this book, a hot debate exists today about the
relative merits of ‘traditional’ land uses such as mobile pastoralism and ‘modern’
interventions such as irrigated farming. Of course the simplistic contrast between
tradition and modernity does not wash, given that pastoralism has been fast-changing
and responding to contemporary contexts, and irrigation has always been an impor-
tant if small component of livelihoods in dryland areas (Anderson and Johnson, 1988;
Sandford, this book). But this debate raises many issues, including what are the
comparative returns from different land uses and the forms of productive activity
that may be taxed more easily by states. As explained above, the weight of evidence
suggests that ‘modern’, commercialized forms of livestock-keeping and irrigated
farming are not as productive as customary forms of pastoralism (Behnke and
Kerven, this book); although it is equally true that there are severe resource and
practical constraints to continued reliance on ‘traditional’ mobile pastoralism: ‘too
many people and too few livestock’ (Sandford, this book).
This raises the question of why governments seek to replace pastoralism with
alternative land uses? An important reason is the interest of governments in raising
tax revenue and, more generally, to exert greater control over economic and
political life at the margins. By controlling economic activity in the pastoral margins
through resource grabs, ruling regimes are able to capture economic wealth for
national development (see Behnke and Kerven, this book).
Borders and boundaries: sites of innovation
The processes of incorporation, assimilation and integration have long been at the
centre of the politics of the pastoral areas, driven by the imperatives of national elites
located far from the margins. The control of borders and the taming of the
borderlands has been a significant part of both colonial and post-colonial state
building (Young, 1994; Herbst, 2000).8 Indeed, the very identity of the central state,
and its visions and plans, is often presented in opposition to these areas. The central
state thus offers modernity and progress, security and stability, shaped by a settled
highland, crop-farming culture and practice. This is projected as a counter to the
backward, primitive, war-like and threatening mobile livelihoods of the lowlands.
The civilizing mission of development thus becomes associated with settlement
projects, irrigation schemes, road building and the provision of ‘modern’ services.
Such interventions have a political dimension. Settlement means ordering and
control, irrigation means profit and taxation, roads allow for the extraction of surplus
to the metropolitan centres and service provision means disciplining, educating and
incorporating citizens through the attractions of schooling and services. ‘Seeing like
a state’ (cf. Scott, 1998) thus takes on a particular form in the relationship between
a highland-centric state and its peripheral territories in the drylands.
Thus state identity and processes of state formation must be seen in terms of
the relation between the centre and the periphery, the core and the margins, the
12 Catley et al.
metropole and the hinterland. Charles Tilly (1992) argues this in relation to the
origin of nation states in Europe, whose establishment depended on the incor-
poration of the margins through population control and the generation of capital to
support the creation of armies. The capture of land, the appropriation of agricultural
production and the extraction of surpluses provided the wealth to establish city
states, their infrastructure and military force. The very origins of the state were thus
reliant on the control of the margins. And the tools of statecraft (and development)
– taxation, statistics, bureaucracy and military might for example – were all deployed
to this end (Hagmann and Peclard, 2011). In the process of imperial conquest in
Africa, or the establishment of independent states more recently, the processes have
been similar. It is thus no surprise that tensions exist – politically, economically and
culturally – between these poles of authority, despite long periods of attempted
assimilation and incorporation.9
These pastoral borderlands are, in some important senses, beyond the reach of the
state, and so the development industry. Historically, these areas have been seen as
both threats: sites of famine, destitution and impoverishment, and so the origins of
mass migrations to cities, and threatening: undermining political stability through forms
of rebellion and insurrection, as well as a source of demands for services and basic
welfare from the central state, while contributing little tax or tribute to state coffers.
As Peter Little shows for Somalia (2003, 2005), even when a central state is
effectively absent, daily life, relationships and particularly markets are still governed.
Here segmented lineage systems, linked to complex clan-based hierarchies, operate
(Leonard, 2009), providing order amongst apparent disorder. Disintegration of the
Somali Republic precipitated a distinctively Somali-type of economic integration,
in which the free movement of livestock, people, goods and information across
Somali-inhabited territories of the Horn was helped – or was at least unhindered –
by the segmentary clan system (Little, 2003). As discussed earlier, the dynamic cross-
border cattle trade between Kenya and southern Somalia has responded to shifts in
state power and influence: from feeding the export market through Kismayo in
Somalia before the war to supplying Kenya’s domestic markets through Nairobi after
state collapse (Little, 2003, 2005, 2007).
Physically, culturally, economically and politically removed from the calculus of
power of the central state, these people and areas have always resisted incorporation,
avoiding taxation, resisting external imposition, and maintaining an apparently
aggressive war-like stance in relation to state efforts. With reference to the mobile
swidden agriculturalists of the south-east Asian highlands, James Scott explains that
they have developed the ‘art of not being governed’ (Scott, 2009) – or at least not
being governed in ways that the central state desires. A similar story applies to
pastoralists of the Horn of Africa. Scott argues that in south-east Asia, hill peoples
operate outside the reaches of state authority, or at least resisting it at every turn. He
argues that this grouping of peoples requires its own history which needs to be
counterposed with the standard national histories of the rice-growing valley states.
Although in the Horn the topographic distinction is reversed, the differences are
further accentuated by deep, historically rooted cultural and religious differences:
Development at the margins 13
livestock-keeping, nomadic (mostly Sufi-adhering) Muslims at the margins, con-
fronting a highland agriculturally based orthodox Christian state in Ethiopia or a
Wahabi-influenced Islamic state in the former Sudan, having to deal with animist
or Christian pastoralists in the south. The borderlands can thus be seen as places of
opportunity, with borders being a resource, a conduit for exchange, not a threat or
Yet despite the impacts of globalization and shifting notions of territory and
sovereignty (Appadurai, 2003; Ferguson, 2006), borders still have real meaning,
especially as such divisions become the focus for trans-national struggles over security
(Clapham, 1999; Newman, 2006). Thus cast at a global scale, the relationships with
other centres of power and these ‘marginal’ areas have been central to some of the
broader geopolitical struggles of recent times. In the Cold War era the alliances
between east and west were all-important in the playing out of interventions in the
region, with the Derg regime of Ethiopia backed by the East, especially the former
Soviet Union, until the fall of the Berlin Wall, while by contrast Kenya and Uganda
were closely allied with the West (Ottaway, 1982; Luckham and Bekele, 1984).
And, particularly since 9/11 and the emergence of the network of groups associated
with Al-Qaida, the borderlands of the Horn have become a site for a global struggle
over values, identity and power. In the Bush era this was dubbed the ‘war on terror’,
and presented as an epic and defining struggle for Western civilization in the face
of barbaric forces inspiring terrorism, located in the marginal pastoral lands of the
Horn or the Sahel (Howell and Lind, 2009; Lind and Howell, 2010; Bradbury and
Kleinman, 2010; Goldsmith, this book).
Pastoral areas are thus seen as a threat, not just to peripheral states in the global
system, but to the political, security and commercial interests of leading industrial-
ized countries. US Special Forces operations inside Somalia since 2001, and drone
warfare launched from bases in Djibouti and southern Ethiopia against suspected
terror leaders in southern Somalia, as well as US support to Ethiopian proxy forces
to remove the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) from power in Mogadishu in 2006
under the guise of ‘counter-terrorism’ (Barnes and Hassan, 2007; Menkhaus, 2007),
indicates the importance of this region to the post-9/11 global security regime. The
ongoing conflict with the Al Shabaab group who occupied the vacuum of power
in Somalia, has helped exacerbate the impact of the 2011-12 famine in southern
Somalia (McVeigh, 2011; LaFranchi, 2011). The stand-off in the region between
the West and the pastoral margins creates a precarious politics, and with this a
rationale for highly top-down development, and sometimes draconian military
intervention (Hagmann and Mulugeta, 2008; Bradbury and Kleinman, 2010).
These geopolitical engagements with the margins have therefore given rise to a
plethora of new ‘development’ projects in pastoral areas, funded by a combination
of US/European conventional aid agencies, foreign affairs and defence/security
ministries. Labelled as ‘peace building’, ‘good governance’ or ‘conflict resolution’
efforts, they are often aimed at ensuring that the interests of a larger political-security
regime are upheld, and that development is the best remedy for countering terror
and destabilizing forces.
14 Catley et al.
Thus, to outsiders, whether based in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, London or
Washington, the pastoral borderlands are at once baffling, unruly, threatening and
backward, and in need of taming, controlling, incorporating and civilizing. The
development enterprise over the past century or more has been geared to this
transformation, and informed by these perspectives to modernize the backward
borderlands and banish primitive practices that give rise to rebellion, insurrection
and, in extreme cases, terror. But a perspective that sees the margins as the centre,
borders as zones of exchange, and borderlands as sites of creativity and innovation
in response to adversity, offers an alternative, although one that requires both new
research methods and development practices (Little, 2006).
Future pathways: diverse livelihood options
What is the future for pastoralism in the Horn of Africa? This book is full of
examples of how pastoralists are responding to the diverse drivers of change that are
impinging on them. But, critically, not everyone succeeds, and processes of quite
extreme differentiation are unfolding in some places, with dire consequence for
those who lose out. A much more complex understanding is needed to provide
insight into the nuances and complexities of change.
A first step is to recognize that ‘pastoralism’ does not represent one form of
livelihood. All forms are broadly connected to mobile livestock production, but
pastoralists may have more or fewer animals, different combinations of species,
different levels of engagement with markets (local, cross-border or export), different
types and entry points into livelihood diversification and varying objectives for pro-
duction. And these different pathways vary from place to place and over time.11
Some pathways are pushed by long-term processes (such as encroachment of pastoral
lands by agriculturalists or game parks) and some are shaped by sudden shocks, such
as disease epidemics or a large livestock raid. Many are shaped by a series of shocks
and stresses, acting sequentially or in combination, including climatic events such
as droughts and/or floods, trade bans imposed by veterinary regulations, wars and
conflicts, or sudden shifts in market opportunities. But these cannot be easily
predicted: future pathways are highly contingent and deeply uncertain – pastoralists
must live with uncertainty (Scoones, 1995a) and continuously adapt and innovate
(Scoones and Adwera, 2009).
Given this context, it is useful to think about future scenarios – possible pathways
that might be followed by different people in different places. Figure 1.2 offers a
simple schema for thinking about this. It was originally developed in a workshop
with Ethiopian policy-makers, development practitioners and pastoral leaders
(UNOCHA-PCI, 2007), and proved a useful heuristic tool for thinking about both
the past and the future. The diagram contrasts four ‘ideal type’ livelihood strategies
which are created through the interaction of two different axes: resource and market
access. Of course, access to resources and markets is in turn affected by multiple
intersecting drivers. Thus, for example, climate change may reduce resource access
by reducing effective rainfall (or increasing its variability) and so affect grass/browse
Development at the margins 15
FIGURE 1.2 Four scenarios for the future of pastoralism (adapted from
UNOCHA–PCI, 2007).
production and surface water access (Ericksen et al., this book). Resource access may
also be affected by ‘land-grabbing’ where particularly important ‘key resources’ are
removed for other uses, including private enclosures, irrigated agriculture, game
parks and so on (Tache, this book; Galaty, this book). Market access, in turn, may
be affected by disease outbreaks, preventing access to particular markets, especially
across borders. The quality of roads, holding grounds and port infrastructure may
also affect market access, as well as patterns of demand from urbanizing centres
affected in turn by changing consumption patterns (Catley and Aklilu, this book).
Conflict – long-running rebellion, large-scale raiding and disorganized banditry –
may affect both resource and market access (Goldsmith, this book).
Over time for a particular place, we can use Figure 1.2 to trace the changes in
livelihoods. What is clear is that, even if we go back 50 or even 100 years, not
everyone was involved in what is labelled ‘traditional’ or ‘pure pastoralism’. While
the anthropological accounts perhaps focused on the dominant (male) occupations
of the majority (Evans-Pritchard, 1940; Lewis, 1988), pastoralism has always been
much more complex. For example, the long-term engagement of pastoralism with
agriculture, including irrigated agriculture, is well documented (Sandford, this
book), as is the differential participation in markets, including across national borders
(Dietz, 1993; McPeak and Little, 2006). Taking the example of Somalia as a country
long-associated with pastoralism, it also has the longest coastline of any country in
Africa, and from the 1830s Somalis were travelling overseas to find work and send
money home to relatives (Geshekter, 1993). Due to links with Arab traders and
merchants, Somalis regularly travelled to the Gulf States in the colonial period,
and were employed as sailors and other workers. Pilgrimages to Islamic centres also
16 Catley et al.
helped to ensure that Somalis were not isolated from news and experiences from
other countries. Rather than describing a nation of nomadic herders, the International
Labour Organization characterized Somali families as multi-occupational, multi-
national production units whereby a family grazing their livestock on the Ethiopian
border could, via the clan system, receive support from relatives abroad (Geshekter,
1993). These remittances were estimated at US$825 million per year, or around 60
per cent of GDP in 2004 (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2006) although some reports
value remittances at up to US$1 billion (Lindley, 2005).
Pastoral systems have long exhibited a boom and bust cycle (Dahl and Hjort,
1976). However, such dynamics are even more important today, and the scenarios,
and associated livelihood options, are both more constrained and more differen-
tiated. As the chapters in this book show, the past dominant livelihood practice
characterized as ‘traditional mobile pastoralism’ is increasingly rare. While in
pastoralist discourse there is a vision of such a lifestyle, and it remains wrapped up
in constructions of identity, the options of regular mobility and reliance on livestock
for subsistence and limited exchange are constrained. Of course, in some more
remote areas, where market access is poor and options of commercialization are
limited, and where resources are still relatively plentiful, this scenario remains
important, now and into the future. Cases might include the various societies within
the ‘Karamoja Cluster’ of north-western Kenya, north-eastern Uganda, and the far
south-eastern corner of South Sudan, as well as neighbouring groups in the Omo
River Delta of southern Ethiopia. But, overall, these are the exceptions, rather than
the rule. In other areas, a combination of factors, all with historical precedents, but
now with greater force, influence and impact, are shaping pastoral livelihood options
and opportunities.
For example, the phenomenon of ‘land grabs’, discussed by Babiker, Galaty, Letai
and Lind, and Nunow in this book, has increased in intensity in recent years. A
combination of crises – of food, fuel and finance – has driven speculative investment
in land. The land that new investors want is invariably the best watered and the most
valuable, as their projects focus on irrigated agriculture, for food, fuel and other
commercial cash crops such as sugar cane (Borras et al., 2010, 2012). In Ethiopia,
for example, the government has committed up to three million hectares of land to
1300 foreign investors with licenses for commercial farms (Graham et al., 2009,
p44; Galaty, this book; Lavers, 2012). In Kenya, a range of domestic and foreign
investors have targeted the Tana Delta, the largest wetland in the country, and a
vital drought-grazing reserve for pastoralists from across northern and eastern Kenya
(Nunow, this book). And such investments are not only for agriculture or biofuels,
but also for tourism, a burgeoning and highly profitable industry in Kenya, as Letai
and Lind (this book) discuss in reference to the Laikipia Plateau in Kenya, for
example. External investors may be a combination of local elites, including pastoral-
ists and foreign nationals, operating with the support of national governments, who
see a vision of a green, irrigated land or a wild, natural space in what they regard as
barren, idle drylands. At a smaller scale, range enclosures, where individuals fence
off areas of rangeland for private use, have grown dramatically, as fodder becomes
Development at the margins 17
scarcer and more valuable. This has resulted in the disruption of traditional, common
property-based range management practices, as described by Tache (this book) for
Borana, Ethiopia.
Such land grabs – small and large – remove ‘key resources’ from pastoral
production systems (Scoones, 1991; Oba, this book). Even if they remove only a
fraction of the overall rangeland area, the removal of key resource patches, such as
riparian strips, wetlands and hilltops, undermines the functionality of the whole
system, increasing risk and vulnerability, as Babiker (this book) explains in his
assessment of the impacts of the grabbing of seasonal grazing lands in Gedaref state
in Sudan.
Another factor that has affected future pathways is the changing nature of conflict
in pastoral areas. Armed violence is a historical condition of many pastoral societies,
and localized disputes over water and grazing are altogether normal features of
most pastoral production systems. However, far from being skirmishes of little
consequence in distant peripheries, pastoral conflicts in the Horn today are closely
entwined with the dynamics of wider political and economic contexts. Further, as
Goldsmith (this book) explains, the future of pastoral conflicts in the region will
closely mirror the transitional dynamics overtaking all but the most isolated corners
of the region. The closer incorporation of pastoral areas into national and regional
economies, the shifting calculus of power in the wake of national political change
and the concomitant emergence of new actors in these areas, as well as the spread
of small arms and light weapons linked to conflicts in the region (Gray, 2000;
Mirzeler and Young, 2000; Pike, 2004; Mkutu, 2008), have all changed the timbre
of conflict and violence in the pastoral margins.
Forms of conflict vary across the region. Conflict in the Ogaden region of eastern
Ethiopia is subsumed in a long-running insurrection by various armed factions as
well as counter-insurgency operations by the Ethiopian military (Markakis, 1994,
2011; Lyons, 2008). Conflict in Isiolo, an emerging regional hub in northern Kenya,
pits members of several ethnic groups against each other against a backdrop of a
booming local economy and political-administrative transition under Kenya’s new
constitution (Amani Papers, 2010; Salesa, 2011). In Karamoja in north-eastern
Uganda, the state has played a critical role in the latest phase of armed violence
through a disarmament operation by the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces,
which has involved confining livestock belonging to disarmed communities in
the shadow of military barracks where they are assumed to be secure (Stites et al.,
2007). However, the picture of pastoral conflict in the region is not one of ever-
escalating violence. There are examples of effective stabilization and peace-building
efforts that build on customary institutions. The government that has developed in
Somaliland is a mix of traditional and modern, and this mix helps to explain the
relative stability of an entire ‘pastoral state’ (Bradbury, 2008). Elsewhere, the
transitional dynamics shaping pastoral conflicts in the Horn favour innovation and
reform that promotes the incorporation of minorities and marginal areas, which
might reduce armed violence in the future (Goldsmith, this book; Scott-Villiers
et al., 2011).
18 Catley et al.
The growth of the livestock trade and the opening up and consolidation of a
series of important trade routes building on centuries of trading and exchange across
the region, is a further driver of change. As already discussed, the growth in demand
for meat from rapidly urbanizing centres in the region, and increasingly wealthy,
oil-rich regions such as the Middle East, has helped the formation of strong trade
routes. These mirror older routes in some cases, but others are new. In 2009,
importing countries for pastoral livestock from the Horn included Egypt, Libya,
Chad, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and
Mauritius (Aklilu and Catley, 2009, this book).
One consequence of a growth in commercial trade is that a number of livelihood
opportunities open up. As several chapters in this book show, pastoralists are taking
full advantage of closer incorporation into national and regional economies to move
livestock and goods across long-standing geopolitical, ecological and land-use
boundaries. This expanding trade is having multiplier effects, promoting diversifica-
tion pathways in the drylands, with increasing demands for trekking and transport
of livestock to fattening lots, sale yards and abattoirs; high value fodder to fatten
livestock for sale; and milk to supply towns where increasing numbers of pastoralists
are moving to engage in trade, marketing and related enterprises (Fratkin, this book).
As Livingstone and Ruhindi (this book) explain, there are gendered dimensions of
such expanding forms of economic life, with women taking on many of the newly
important value added activities.
The net result is that there is a greater spread of livelihood pathways across the
diagram in Figure 1.2. While in the past, the majority concentrated on traditional,
mobile forms of livestock-keeping, with some specializing in supplying larger
markets, others diversifying into enterprises associated with keeping herds, and many
dropping out, today there is even greater differentiation. In particular, as Catley and
Aklilu show (this book), there is a growing gap between those who are able to profit
from the growing opportunities of commercialization and those who cannot, and
so are unable to stay in the traditional pastoral system. These people must exit to
other livelihood activities in the area, or in increasing numbers become reliant
on aid agency support, sometimes in camps, or in the constant movement out of
pastoral areas to towns. For others, exit means movement out of the country into
the diaspora. While data on these processes is difficult to come by, estimates of
population growth and poverty levels in pastoral areas (Catley and Aklilu, this book)
are consistent with estimates of increasing urban populations, both within and
outside pastoral areas of the Horn (Anon., 2010), as the poorest move out of pas-
toralism. Stephen Sandford argues persuasively that there are ‘too many people and
too few livestock’ in pastoral areas, and that the prospects are bleak.12 He argues that
the value of growing trade and the opportunities for diversification are too small to
sustain the growing number of people. The result is a growing pattern of differen-
tiation: some moving up, others moving out. Catley and Aklilu (this book) thus
explain the trends in high-export pastoral areas of Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, less
in terms of the demise of pastoralism in the Horn, more as an expected transfer of
livestock from smaller to larger herds – a process of classic class formation – as
Development at the margins 19
commercialization advances. Forms of mobile pastoralism will continue, they argue,
for those who are able to commercialize while others will seek options elsewhere,
as labourers, entrepreneurs and service providers; a process in common with changes
in pastoralism in other parts of the world (Steinfeld et al., 2010) and agricultural
development in general (Bryceson et al., 2000).
What is certainly clear is that this process of differentiation – the creation of a
relatively elite commercial class within pastoral societies – is occurring at a rapid
pace in some areas. The main herd owners may often be absent, employing labour
or loaning out animals through social networks (Little, 1985a). This process absorbs
labour to some extent, creating livelihoods for those unable to socially reproduce
on the basis of traditional modes of production, such as through contracted herding,
being enlisted as labour on farms owned by pastoral elites, or trekking/transporting
livestock to distant private ranches and sale-yards. With this, we see the expansion
and entrenchment of new pastoral elites, who are well-connected economically and
politically with the centre, as a result, often losing their connections with the
The implications of this rapid process of socio-economic differentiation are
evident in the erosion of customary safety nets, as Lind and Letai (this book) explain
in the case of the Laikipia Maasai. Nunow (this book) similarly describes the loss of
cooperative herding arrangements in the Tana Delta in Kenya. He explains that,
whereas in the past wealthier and poorer herders would combine their herds and
hire labour to move these to distant grazing, and would be compensated in kind
with an animal belonging to a better-off herder, wealthier herders are now backing
out of such arrangements and paying in cash hired herders to move livestock being
reared for the market. The implication is that poorer herders are losing out, unable
to afford to pay cash to hired herders.
In the past such processes of extreme differentiation were not so evident in pastoral
areas. A tradition of sharing and equity was linked to a ‘moral economy’ reinforced
by cultural and religious mores of inclusion and preventing destitution, embedded in
a strong lineage and clan-based social fabric (Broch-Due, 1990; Storas, 1991; Waller,
1999). There were of course elites, but they often represented positions created
through clan and lineage connections, religious affiliation and age, rather than the
harsher dynamics of class formation in a commercializing economy under pressure.
This of course has implications for rural politics. Clan elders may or may not be
coincident with the new economic elites. Traders, brokers, transporters may be the
‘big men’ today and, while negotiating their position with traditional elites, they
may have other routes to access power and resources via alliances with the central
state. Operating outside the local moral economy, they may also have fewer
obligations and reduced qualms about exploitative labour and market practices, and
less commitment to others who drop through any safety net once provided.
It is in this context that aid agencies, NGOs and governments must struggle to
provide ‘social protection’. However, as Catley and Aklilu (this book) indicate,
safety net programmes may be fundamentally flawed in high export pastoral areas if
the objectives include either returning substantial numbers of destitute herders back
20 Catley et al.
to pastoralism, or if the expectation is that many people can find alternative liveli-
hoods in these areas. Although livestock commercialization does provide some new
employment opportunities and there are also economic spaces for alternative
livelihoods to develop, the demand far exceeds the supply. Similarly, the level of
assets provided by safety nets and similar programmes may meet some immediate
food security needs (rather like food aid), but in terms of herd re-building are
insignificant (Catley and Napier, 2010). In addition, as the gap between poorer and
richer households widens, larger herds are needed to enter into and stay in the
commercialized system. Still, Devereux and Tibbo (this book) suggest that in
pastoral areas there is a role for other types of ‘social protection’, which they use
more broadly to refer to social insurance, livelihood support, employment guaran-
tees and conflict resolution.
Some development programmes focus on ‘livelihood diversification’, attempting
to create alternative livelihoods to help people diversify out of pastoralism. But the
design of these programmes often fails to understand the intimate economic and
cultural connections between diversified livelihoods and the core pastoral economy.
Many people have the ambition of returning to pastoralism, and will use town-based
livelihoods to accumulate animals, which may be herded by relatives out on the
range. The small towns that are scattered across the pastoral areas are, as we have
already noted, growing fast. This is driven by the pastoral economy locally and often
complemented by diaspora investments in these places – involving not only real
estate and business development, but also, crucially, investments in livestock (Horst,
2004; Lindley, 2007, 2009). Such small towns offer numerous opportunities for
small-scale entrepreneurs, as in the camel milk trade described by Abdullahi et al.
(this book). Such opportunities are especially important for women who are able to
gain independent sources of income (Ahmed, 1999; Hodgson, 2000; Livingstone
and Ruhindi, this book). The connections between economic activities are thus
essential, and the interaction between the four quadrants in Figure 1.2 is important
to highlight, both for individual people at a particular moment, but also across time.
The future of pastoralism?
The central proposition of this book is that by making the margins the centre of our
thinking, a different view of future pathways emerges. A perspective centred on ‘the
margins’ unmasks the continuous innovation, adaptive practices, complex gover-
nance arrangements and entrepreneurial dynamism of these areas. This is not to say
that there is no role for development supported by outside actors, or no need to
improve livelihoods and human development for the vast majority of herders; far
from it. But it does mean that the forms and styles of intervention need to be very
different indeed, and result in a more effective negotiation and accommodation
between the (multiple) centres and the diverse peripheries, in the margins of the
As we have seen, the pastoral drylands of the Horn of Africa are simultaneously
sites of accumulating wealth and downward spirals of destitution and displacement.
Development at the margins 21
They are places of increasing specialization in commercial livestock production
as well as foci for entrepreneurial diversification. They are places where social
and technological innovation is constantly happening, but more often than not
undetected by official development agencies. They are places where change of
various types is always unfolding, increasingly in connection to the broader dynamics
of political and economic transition that are sweeping the region. They are today
places of sometimes extreme contrasts and stark differentiation. They are places full
of hope, yet with pockets of real desperation and despair, as the famine crisis in
southern Somalia in 2011–12 makes clear. The contradictions and complexities of
multiple, competing pathways of change make these places difficult to understand,
especially with the mindsets, perceptions and framings of the development elite from
the metropolitan centres, both north and south.
What then needs to happen? How can the hope and optimism, the dynamic
entrepreneurialism and ingenious innovation be capitalized on, spread and
multiplied? And how can the crises, failures and cycles of destitution and human
misery be avoided? The challenges are conceptual and practical. Conceptually, as
emphasized throughout this book, we need to change the way we view the pastoral
areas of the Horn. This requires some very fundamental ‘flips’ in the way problems
are framed, and solutions envisaged. Table 1.1 provides contrasting views of a
number of important development challenges, as seen from ‘the centre’ and ‘the
margins’; shifting from ‘seeing like a development agency’ to ‘seeing like a pas-
toralist’. Of course the world does not exist in bipolar opposites, and shades of grey
always represent the complex reality in between. But as a challenge to normative
perspectives of mainstream development, Table 1.1 offers some contrasts for debate.
Critically, it means changing the way we think about development, not as a singular
pathway to be introduced or pushed by states in the region and their aid partners,
but rather as a plural set of pathways unfolding on multiple fronts in the margins,
driven by the wider dynamics of transition and a diversity of actors, both men and
women: livestock keepers of all types, market traders, foreign and domestic investors,
local entrepreneurs, rural middlemen, customary leaders, armed agents and youth,
among others. But such plural pathways are also thoroughly shaped by pastoral
innovation, ingenuity and aspiration. Thus, by consciously moving our gaze from
the centre to the margins the world begins to look different.
Practically, there are a number of steps that aid agencies and government
departments can take. A first step is to work with and through existing policy
frameworks that support entrepreneurialism and innovation in pastoral areas, and
which suggest moves towards a different configuration of markets and governance.
In particular, as already mentioned, the AU policy framework on pastoralism
provides a progressive vision of development pathways in pastoral areas, and can
be built on by efforts to develop complementary policies – and crucially, resulting
resource allocations – through regional economic bodies and national governments.
Development actors can buttress these efforts by helping to shape strategies for very
different pastoral contexts in ways that resonate with the core ideas of the AU
TABLE 1.1 Contrasting visions of development at the margins
Issue View from the centre (‘seeing like a development agency’) View from the margins (‘seeing like a pastoralist’)
Mobility Pre-sedentarization, nomadism as a stage in the process Mobility as essential for modern livelihoods – of livestock, people,
of civilization. labour, finance.
Climate and Pastoralists as villains and victims: environmental Responding to non-equilbrium environments and adaptation to
environmental degradation needs to be curtailed, and pastoralists are in climate variability as a way of life.
change need of support for climate adaptation.
Markets Uneconomic, weak, thin, informal, backward, in need of Vibrant commercial trade, cross-border, linked into regional/
modern facilities and upgraded value chains, and so global markets, constrained by state. Informality as a strength.
formalized, regulated.
Agriculture The future, a route to settlement and civilization, and A temporary stop-gap, but linked to pastoralism, especially if based
more profitable return. on flexible locally controlled small-scale crop production.
Irrigation A sound investment, a profitable enterprise, especially if A risky investment that undermines the core economic opportunity
large-scale and linked to infrastructure development of (livestock production), especially if externally owned and controlled
the region. and large-scale. A land grab, not a land investment.
Technology Backward, primitive, requiring modernization (range Appropriate technology, mixing old (mobile pastoralism) with the
management, breeding, fences, abattoirs and so on). new (mobile phones, Internet etc.).
Services Simple to supply, but difficult, resistant customers Huge demand for health care and schooling, but requires new forms
unwilling to take up education and health services. of service delivery compatible with mobile livelihoods.
Diversification A way out of pastoralism; a coping strategy. As a complement to pastoralism, adding value, gaining business
opportunities, a route ‘back in’ to livestock-keeping through
investment of new income.
Social protection Aid programmes and safety nets, externally designed and Focused on mutual support networks and informal interactions,
imposed, difficult to get out once in the net. culturally rooted and highly dynamic, movement in and out of
Small towns Sites of destitution, dropping out; in need of Commercial hubs, foci for growth and private investment,
‘development’ (services and infrastructure). including from diaspora networks.
Borders The edge of the nation, to be controlled and protected. The centre of extended livelihood and market networks.
Conflict Destructive, violent and in need managing; external peace Linked to local peace initiatives, rebuilding clan and ethnic
building efforts through disarmament and ‘development’. identities and promoting and improving the inclusion and
representation of pastoralists in national political fora.
Identity Tribes, the ‘other’, not us. In need of development, Trans-national linking clans and groups across nations, into the
civilization, incorporation into the nation. diaspora; diverse citizenships.
State Fragile, weak, collapsed, failed. New networked forms of governance, linking local organization
(clans) and wider polities beyond the state.
Class Homogenous, tribal. Highly differentiated, different socio-economic groups.
Gender Regressive, anti-women. Women as key innovators and agents of diversification, promoting
peace by building a network of contacts across social and ecological
borders through trade and exchange.
Youth Dangerous, idle, impoverished – caught up in banditry Important connectors to newly important economic activities,
and raiding, and potential recruits into extremist groups. exploiting new political spaces to negotiate and contest better terms
for pastoral societies in national debate.
24 Catley et al.
A second step is to gear organizations to work over the long-term in the margins.
To shift the vision from the centre to the margins will require more people spending
more time in places such as Gode, Garsen and Gambella. Our knowledge and
understanding of the dynamics shaping development at the margins is constrained
by the fact that so many agencies have their staff concentrated in the region’s political
and commercial centres. Many organizations with national offices make their
decisions based on the limited and sometimes poor quality information availed by
field staff in regional towns or consultants who visit for rapid assessments. For
development organizations seeking to shift to the margins, this means creating new
partnerships with local civil society in these areas, such as customary authorities,
church missions, mosque committees and trade-based groups. Partnerships need to
be less concerned with ‘implementation’ of preconceived plans and more focused
on finding workable ways of ‘entrusting’ local actors to identify problems, oppor-
tunities and ways of working on these.
A third step is that development actors need to support more long-term analysis
and learning. Under conditions of dynamic uncertainty, adaptive responses, experi-
mentation, piloting and above all research and learning are critical. Yet research
effort, and the resulting evidence base, is limited, due to insecurity, the difficulties
of working in such environments and the relative lack of funding. Most donor/
NGO-supported assessments are localized and provide only a snapshot of a very
complex reality, and many extract unreliable information, without building relations
of trust with local communities that allow researchers and development practitioners
to gain ‘a view from the margins’. Development actors need to reinvest in sustained,
high quality participatory analysis with communities which, when done well,
incorporates a differentiated analysis by gender and wealth group and thereby begins
to probe the key issues of social difference; moving beyond a uniform view of
pastoralism to an appreciation of diversity and difference. This change would also
benefit from wider use of participatory approaches for reviewing and assessing the
impact of projects (Catley et al., 2008), especially when impact assessment is linked
to reshaping organizational or government policies.
A fourth step must be an acceptance that many of the issues that remain challenges
at the margins are political. While adopting policies, changing resource allocations,
shifting staff locations, building local partnerships and improving research and
learning processes through participatory approaches are all important, in the end a
rethinking of development at the margins will require some fairly fundamental
changes in power and politics. This requires a renegotiation of the relationships
between the central state – and the associated international development apparatus
– and the margins. Given the long histories of conflict, secession and wider distrust
that exist, how can this be possible? Surely the very vibrancy of life at the margins
is based on the ‘art of not being governed’, escaping the disciplining strictures of state
control? And will not an accommodation with the central state likely result in
capture, incorporation and exploitation? These are all certainly risks. But maybe the
centre now needs the margins more than before. There is a growing acceptance of
the importance of the livestock trade as a source of national economic growth, with
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... Elhadary and Abdelatti (2016) stated that 'due to the secret nature and lack of transparency in the process of land grabbing, having accurate and up-to-date data is far dreaming'. Babiker (2013) mentioned that 'details of recent land deals are notoriously difficult to identify yet Sudanese and international media report that over two million ha of land are 'up for grabs' in ongoing deals …'. To provide empirical evidence to better inform the debate, this paper focuses on Butana communal rangeland in eastern Sudan which is classified as marginal for agricultural production and where by law LSMA activities are illegal (Sulieman 2015). ...
... LSFs in Gadarif State have succeeded in building power from the community to the regional and national levels (Egemi 2008;Sulieman 2015). Babiker (2013) mentioned that the scarcity of available land in central and southern zones has meant that Butana rangeland became an alternative option for expansion in recent decades even though land-use planning had not allowed for LSMA. The encroachment of LSMA is converting the continuous natural vegetation cover of Butana into spatially isolated patches. ...
... The LSFs engaged in land acquisition activities in Butana argue that the land is empty and unowned. Babiker (2013) found that as a result of the expansion of LSMA north of its official zone, pastoralists were squeezed onto drier rangelands which are typically furthest from water sources. According to Gilbert (2007), the rules governing land use and ownership in modern societies have been framed around cultivation of land as the proper occupation of land and, therefore, the basis for any land tenure system. ...
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The persistent policy of successive Sudanese governments in favouring large-scale agricultural investments at the expense of traditional land use is creating material differences among significant groups of the population. A significant share of this type of investment falls within the territories of the communal rangelands of the country. The aim of this paper is to provide analytical insights of the geographical allocation and the temporal evolution of land grabbing on the expanses of communal land utilized by local inhabitants in Butana area in eastern Sudan. The study relies on multi-temporal Landsat satellite imagery (2000, 2005, 2009, and 2014), ground surveys, and key informant interviews. The results show that large-scale mechanized agriculture (LSMA) in Butana communal rangeland increased incrementally from 2.5% in 2000 to 17.6% in 2014. The starting location of the expansion of LSMA was in surrounding valleys. From the images, it is clear that land grabbing is converting the natural vegetation cover of Butana communal rangeland into spatially fragmented patches. Large-scale farmers (LSFs) involved in the process included wealthy pastoralists who own large numbers of livestock and absentee farmers who rely on hired representatives to manage their agricultural operations. Without a fundamental change in governmental policy, which currently turns a blind eye to the illegal activities of LSFs on communal rangeland, the gloomy scenario of land-based conflict may erupt in the eastern part of the country.
... As a result, among international and national policy circles, there is not always a deep or shared understanding of the importance of pastoralist migratory cycles, nor of the wider challenges facing pastoralist mobility. Examples of common challenges across the Sahel region and in Sudan include the shrinking of rangelands as a result of changing land use practices and the expansion of farming (Sulieman, 2015(Sulieman, , 2018Cotula et al., 2009;Krätli et al., 2013;Babiker, 2013). Conflict is another common problem that impacts pastoralist migrations, including farmer-herder conflict, and also wider international and civil conflicts (Bromwich, 2017;Unruh and Abdul-Jalil, 2012;Abdul-Jalil, 2008. ...
At their furthest extent, the livestock migrations examined in this paper traverse a distance of 400 km or more along a north-south transect, crossing up to half a dozen distinct ecological zones and, upon occasion, the international border between Sudan and South Sudan. Official Sudanese recognition of the value of migratory livestock production has led in recent years to policy and legal changes that support pastoral mobility, but there remains a gap in the scientific evidence that can be called upon to inform this emerging awareness. This paper uses remotely sensed livestock tracking data to document pastoral behaviour in relation to some of the biophysical factors that are important for livestock survival and production. This research supports several policyrelevant conclusions: 1. In East Darfur, long-distance migratory livestock production is remarkably resilient to rainfall fluctuations, including drought and flooding, because movement cycles are already designed to accommodate this kind of variability. 2. Mobile livestock producers are exposed to human-generated disruption and increasing pressures on their mobility from expanding farms, localized conflict and insecurity, and a new international border. 3. Pastoralists need sympathetic governance to mediate their interactions with other forms of land use, which is unlikely to happen unless authorities appreciate the technical sophistication and economic advantages of migratory systems. 4. Migratory production in East Darfur uses locally available resources which leaves livestock owners and government free to expend cash reserves on other kinds of inputs, investments or activities.
... As a result, among international and national policy circles, there is not always a deep or shared understanding of the importance of pastoralist migratory cycles, nor of the wider challenges facing pastoralist mobility. Examples of common challenges across the Sahel region and in Sudan include the shrinking of rangelands as a result of changing land use practices and the expansion of farming (Sulieman, 2015(Sulieman, , 2018Cotula et al., 2009;Krätli et al., 2013;Babiker, 2013). Conflict is another common problem that impacts pastoralist migrations, including farmer-herder conflict, and also wider international and civil conflicts (Bromwich, 2017;Unruh and Abdul-Jalil, 2012;Abdul-Jalil, 2008. ...
At their furthest extent, the livestock migrations examined in this paper traverse a distance of 400 km or more along a north-south transect, crossing up to half a dozen distinct ecological zones and, upon occasion, the international border between Sudan and South Sudan. Official Sudanese recognition of the value of migratory livestock production has led in recent years to policy and legal changes that support pastoral mobility, but there remains a gap in the scientific evidence that can be called upon to inform this emerging awareness. This paper uses remotely sensed livestock tracking data to document pastoral behaviour in relation to some of the biophysical factors that are important for livestock survival and production. This research supports several policy-relevant conclusions: 1. In East Darfur, long-distance migratory livestock production is remarkably resilient to rainfall fluctuations, including drought and flooding, because movement cycles are already designed to accommodate this kind of variability. 2. Mobile livestock producers are exposed to human-generated disruption and increasing pressures on their mobility from expanding farms, localized conflict and insecurity, and a new international border. 3. Pastoralists need sympathetic governance to mediate their interactions with other forms of land use, which is unlikely to happen unless authorities appreciate the technical sophistication and economic advantages of migratory systems. 4. Migratory production in East Darfur uses locally available resources which leaves livestock owners and government free to expend cash reserves on other kinds of inputs, investments or activities.
... This could partly be attributed to loss of communal grazing land due to increased farming activities, resulting from local and international land investment and land grabs and extension of traditional farming, as well as an increase in extractive industries which put additional pressure on the region's fragile natural resource base, pushing it in some cases beyond its regenerative capacity (Cervigni and Morris, eds, 2016). In the Sudan, the expansion of rain-fed cropping in the eastern and western parts of the country at the expense of grazing land has resulted in the constriction of pastoral domain and rising conflicts between farmers and herders (Babiker, 2013;Shazali and Ahmed, 1999;United Nations Environment Programme, 2007). In Kenya, investors have targeted the Tana Delta, the largest wetland in the country and a vital drought-grazing land for pastoralists (Nunow, 2013). ...
... Over the years' pastoralists in Ethiopian drylands have experienced a shrinkage in available dry season grazing, a reduction in communally managed grazing reserves and growing individualisation of land use rights through privatisation. Similarly, in Sudan, Babiker [43] found that the process of land resource individualisation has severely fragmented the Central Sudan rangelands as land is expropriated for large-scale commercial farming and wildlife conservation. ...
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In dryland Africa, access to land and water resources are central to pastoral livelihood activities. Policy intervention in these regions represents the outcome of concerted post-independence processes in which countries have committed to land tenure transformation as a policy objective. This was meant to create private, liberal property rights to replace communal customary tenure systems which were considered to be a constraint to development. Despite these efforts, decades of scientific research indicate that countries are still struggling to meet environmental sustainability objectives. Land degradation where it existed has not been halted and traditional pastoral livelihoods have been disrupted. The overall evidence base for policymaking remains weak as deficiencies in data or information on which management decisions were based led to poor policy performance. In a bid to strengthen understanding in this area, this study has a dual aim: 1. Using a systematic review of the literature, we examine the impact of land tenure transformation in pastoral areas in sub-Saharan Africa; 2. We analyse user-perspectives on land tenure transformation and pastoralists’ rights in Ngamiland, Botswana, so as to draw out the salient issues that must be addressed in order to reconcile pastoral tenure conflicts and land management in sub-Saharan Africa. Results from meta-analysis and case study show that land tenure transformation policies across pastoral areas are subject to similar challenges and consequences. Protecting pastoral land rights requires deliberate policy interventions that recognise pastoralism as a productive and efficient use of resources. Policymakers need to overcome anti-pastoral prejudice and focus on Sustainable Land Management goals. This entails establishing negotiated and flexible tenure frameworks that strengthen pastoralists’ participation in decision-making arenas by working with pastoral communities on the basis of understanding their livelihood system.
... However, these transitions of pastoralism towards more commercialised systems have not been uniform across the region, and many pastoralists have experienced substantial declines in their access to land and, in some cases, their share of important livestock markets. For example, in the huge central and eastern rangelands of Sudan, the appropriation of land for mechanised farming started in the 1860s and was still expanding in the late 2000s, with land deals for foreign investors (11,12,13). In Darfur, the export-driven commercialisation of sheep led not to widespread benefits for pastoralists, but opportunities for farmers, large-scale livestock traders and absentee herd owners, who started to produce sheep to supply the market (14). ...
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This paper reviews pastoralism in the Horn of Africa region with reference to the basic socio-economics of pastoralism, and the use of mobile livestock production to generate income and food for human consumption. The paper also examines long-term trends in pastoralist areas which, at first sight, appear to be contradictory. The first trend is the growth of a substantial domestic and export trade in livestock and meat across the region, driven largely by supplies from pastoralist areas and local and international demand. This trend indicates robust and responsive livestock production and marketing in pastoralist areas, despite recurrent drought, conflict and weak governance. In contrast, the second trend sees increasing levels of poverty and destitution in pastoralist areas, and continued high levels of human malnutrition. The co-existence of economic growth and increasing poverty in 'high-export' areas is explained by human population growth, drought, and the private control of pastures and water by wealthier producers. All of these factors combine to push poorer producers out of pastoralism. In areas with lower market orientation, other forms of declining land access are often evident, including the appropriation of land for mechanised farming, hydroelectric schemes, and bush encroachment. These changes, plus population growth and drought, also push people out of pastoralism. In all areas, pastoralism will continue to be the main economic activity but, at the same time, increasing numbers of people are seeking other livelihoods.
... This removes key resources from pastoralist's access. The removal of key resources from pastoral production system's access increases pastoral livelihood's risk and vulnerability to stresses such as extreme climate events (Babiker, 2013). Therefore, the resilience of pastoral livelihoods relies on the access and utilization of various rangeland natural resources, which is important for its resilience to stresses (IUCN, 2011), and this is largely facilitated by the ability to move with their livestock. ...
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This dissertation investigates the synergies and tensions of development interventions and climate adaptation activities in the context of building resilience to climate stresses for pastoral livelihoods. Studies on resilience to climate change for Kenyan pastoralists have demonstrated how climate change is affecting pastoral livelihoods and the coping strategies pastoralists are using to adapt to climate shocks in the Kenyan semi arid. However, little specific analysis exists on the synergies and tensions of development interventions and climate adaptation activities in the context of building resilience to climate stresses for pastoral livelihoods in Kenya. To address this, this dissertation focuses on understanding how LAPSSET corridor development project planning has taken into account the issues of pastoral livelihood’s access to asset capitals and how this may influence pastoral livelihood’s resilience to climatic stresses. The study focused on two areas: Ngaremara and Isiolo peri-urban areas. Document analysis of the Kenyan vision 2030 development strategy for Northern Kenya and other arid lands provided data on the development plans for the Kenyan pastoral regions in the context of pastoral livelihood’s resilience to climate stresses. Further, interviews with key informants and pastoralists provided details on how LAPSSET corridor project planning has taken into account issues of pastoral livelihood’s access to asset capitals. The results indicate that LAPSSET corridor project can provide pastoral livelihoods with opportunities to build resilience to climate stresses if it adequately involves pastoralists in the planning and its implementation processes. However, failure by LAPSSET corridor project planners to engage pastoralists in the planning of its activities has led to much of the pastoralists concerns about their livelihood’s continued access to and utilization of critical asset capitals being overlooked in the project plans. LAPSSET corridor project planners and policy makers need to extensively engage with pastoral communities in Isiolo County to safeguard their continued access and exploitation of key asset capitals to help pastoral livelihoods to build resilience against climate stresses.
... Recently, the government of Sudan allowed companies from different parts of the world to acquire land in Sudan on an unprecedented scale. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Syria, China, Gordon, Morocco, and the Republic of South Korea have been the principal sources of land investments in Sudan, taking 1.8 million hectares of agricultural lands (Babiker, 2011). Elhadary and Obeng-Odoom, (2012) believes that from 2004 and 2008, the total of land grabs in Sudan amounted to 4.0 million hectares of land on leases whose average term is fifty years. ...
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The unprecedented increase in the world population coupled with the great demand for food have encouraged several investors to acquire land and water in some developing countries, Sudan is not an exception. This current phenomenon often referred to as " land grabbing " as it always violates the right of local land users and affects the environment. This paper aims to highlight the process by which local and foreign investors acquire communal lands in Sudan and to underline its implication on pastoral livelihood. The paper is mainly based on desk review and deep analysis of some recent documents. The paper has come out with the fact that under the pretext of development and food security, huge communal lands were taken from local producers and leased " soled " to the investors (grabbers). To facilitate land grabbing, the government of Sudan has frequently been embarked on amending land tenure system several times. The Unregistered Land Act of 1971, Ministerial Act of 1996 and the Investment Act of 2013, have paved the way for more land grabbing in Sudan. These acts ignored completely the historical right of the local communities over land resources. Lacks of transparency, unfair compensation and limited or absent consultation of the local communities are some characteristics shaping land grabbing in Sudan. Land for local producers is the main asset and a source of everything (livelihood) thus, denying such right means lacking everything. This explains why food insecurity, spread of poverty, disputes and conflict are now widely dominated most of pastoral areas. The paper aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on land grabbing and open windows for more research in such hot issue. It provides planners with some ideas that might help in formulating sound policy regarding land acquisition. Like any African country, the government of Sudan has to find rational way to make the investment a win win deal if it is really looking for food security, social peace and sustainable development.
This paper investigates the different ways in which the state can derive value from its control over space and non-human nature. The analysis is based on the Sudanese case and the centrality of land and water in the political ecology of the country, attested by the continual establishment of irrigation mega-projects. There are two main scenarios. In the first one, the state acts directly in the economic exploitation of natural resources; such outright involvement in the production processes can be realised with or without the involvement of private capital. In the second one, it offers preconditions to private investors by establishing a legal framework (for land concessions and exploitation rights) and by providing operative requirements (such as infrastructures and public security). In this way, the state is able to extract rents. In both scenarios the state’s role inevitably changes. In the first case, it is a first-person producer of surplus value. In the second case, it collects income. These different strategies are both forms of an exercise of power that affects the organization of a territory. It is our focus to concentrate on the territorial outcomes of these two scenarios. By analysing the period from the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium to the present times, we were able to observe the changing attitude of the state regarding the exploitation of natural resources and the mobilization of capital. Our starting point is Scott’s insight about the process that transforms inherited “thick” spaces into “state spaces”: he defines the territorial outcomes as “thin spaces”. We want to take a step further by presenting ‘ultra-thin spaces’, spaces that are suitable for mobile investments in the global market. In our perspective, ultra-thin spaces constitute the territorial outcome of a state which derives value by conceding control over natural resources and exploitation rights to others. This approach, taken from an historical perspective, analyses how the different relationships between state, capital and nature have had different outcomes in the territory. Even if applied to the specific Sudanese case, it serves as a means to more broadly understand this phenomenon constitutive of new global geopolitics where even the sovereignty of the state is being redefined.
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Land in rural communities is not just a means of livelihood but also a source of wealth, tribal identity, social peace, and also source of conflicts. This paper addresses the issue of pastoral land tenure in relation to their livelihood security in Sudan. The overall objective is to trace the changes in land tenure system and its implications on pastoral communities in Gedarif state, eastern Sudan. In Gedarif like elsewhere in Sudan accessing pastoral land was governed by the system of communal rights. Although, this system has some shortcomings such as lack of transparency and democracy besides being gender bias as woman can access land only through their fathers and husbands, it has proven its efficiency in securing livelihood and reducing conflicts in the country. Several land acts have been introduced since the colonial era and during the national successive governments aiming to provide the state full authority to control land resources and undermining the traditional communal right of pastoral people. Among these was the unregistered act of 1970, this act has given the government the full power to grab and reallocate the land to the public and private sectors most were not from Gedarif state, without taking into account the communal right of utilization and access to land, which is the major source for pastoral livelihood. As a result unplanned mechanized farming has expanded rapidly at the expense of traditional right causing rigorous implications and threat on pastoral economy. These implications include: livelihood insecurity, drop out from traditional sectors, collapse of pastoral adaptation, poverty, rural urban migration, weakening the role of tribal leaders and acute conflict over limited resources.