Ethiopia's Pastoralist Policies: Development, Displacement and Resettlement
Elliot Fratkin (Smith College/University of Massachusetts)
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses policies of the Ethiopian government to displace and resettle pastoralists from major rivers to make way for hydro-electric and irrigation projects, engendering resistance from the affected pastoralists. This paper makes recommendations to maintain pastoral livelihoods while improving social services.
Paper long abstract:
The Federal Democratic Government of Ethiopia, while responsive to some issues of pastoralist development, has dramatically accelerated programs of displacement and resettlement in different regions of the country. This is particularly so along major rivers including the Omo, Awash, and Shabelle Rivers in order to develop large scale hydro electric and irrigation projects for state and foreign owned agriculture including sugar production. Pastoral and agro-pastoral populations make up only 12% of Ethiopia's population, located in the drier regions of southern and eastern Ethiopia, yet produce the majority the country's livestock, the largest number in Africa. Although pastoral production requires mobility for access to grazing and water, the Federal government dismisses traditional herding practices as 'primitive' and inefficient. The government's stated goals include modernizing their pastoral populations by providing social services through resettlement and offering alternate economies of wage labor and farming. These policies have not been successful and have engendered resistance from the affected pastoralists. This paper draws on examples from Mursi, Borena, Afar (Danankil), and Somali pastoralists and makes recommendations to maintain pastoral livelihoods while improving social services.
The emerging world of pastoralists and nomads (IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples)