Pastoralism is estimated to be the main livelihood of 268 million people in Africa, and is critically dependent on mobility which facilitates the use of transient resources in areas of high and seasonal rainfall, ecological, and nutritional variability. These landscapes are not confined within state boundaries but require cross-border movement.
This rapid literature review collates information on cross-border pastoral mobility patterns, the connections between this mobility and cross-border conflict systems, and how these are shaped by policy responses in three regions – West Africa / Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and East Africa.
The key findings are 1) There is a large variation in the people who participate in transhumance and the movement patterns across the three regions.
2) Due to the increase in the total levels of violence in West Africa, Central Africa, and East Africa, pastoralist communities in the three regions are affected by a range of cross-border conflict issues. However the roles that herders, farmers, and pastoralism play in this heightened conflict context is not clear.
3) Broadly speaking, governments have not been able to protect or support pastoralism however a number of bilateral and regional policy initiatives attempt to address the challenges and potential associated with cross-border movement with a variety of affects.