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Enhancing resilience in the Horn of Africa : An exploration into alternative investment options

  • Headey, Derek
  • Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum
  • You, Liangzhi

The most recent (2010-211) drought in the arid and semiarid lowlands (ASAL) of the Horn of Africa has rendered over 13 million people in need of food, and caused a devastating famine in southern Somalia. The drought has also raised concerns that pastoralist livelihoods in this region are no longer viable or sustainable, thereby justifying strategies that aim to sedentarize and diversify these livelihoods. Countering this view are advocates of wholesale protection of pastoralist livelihoods. Yet despite these very contrasting views on economic development in the region, very little research directly addresses this big picture question of where public resources should be invested. In this paper we argue that both economic theory and the existing evidence base warrant a more balanced development strategy involving movement out of pastoralism (intersectoral transformation), modernization of pastoralism (intrasectoral transformation), and cross-cutting transformations of the demographic, social, and political structure of ASAL populations. We then explore the empirical basis for balancing investments across these kinds of transformations. While the available evidence base is weak in some respects, we find that most nonpastoralist livelihoods in ASAL yield lower incomes than pastoralism, with the exception of urban livelihoods and irrigated farming.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1176.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1176
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  1. Derek Headey & Dirk Bezemer & Peter B. Hazell, 2010. "Agricultural Employment Trends in Asia and Africa: Too Fast or Too Slow?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 57-89, February.
  2. Travis J. Lybbert & Christopher B. Barrett & Solomon Desta & D. Layne Coppock, 2004. "Stochastic wealth dynamics and risk management among a poor population," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 750-777, October.
  3. Jonathan Davies & Richard Bennett, 2007. "Livelihood adaptation to risk: Constraints and opportunities for pastoral development in Ethiopia's Afar region," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 490-511.
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