The Future of Pastoralism in Africa

CamelCaseStudyAn international conference to debate the future of pastoralists in Africa, 21-23 March 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The future of pastoralism in Africa is uncertain and radical changes are affecting Pastoralist areas in terms of access to resources, options for mobility and opportunities for marketing. These changes bring new possibilities for making pastoralist livelihoods stronger but many questions remain about the sustainability of these changes: Is there opportunity for a productive, vibrant, market-oriented livelihood system or will pastoralist areas remain a backwater of underdevelopment, marginalisation and severe poverty? How can pastoralist ‘drop-outs’ be supported after they leave the livelihood but continue to interact with the livestock sector?

The Future Agricultures Consortium and the Feinstein International Center of Tufts University are hosting this academic conference to critically reflect on the future of pastoralism in Africa and to share new learning from the dynamics of change and innovation happening in pastoralist areas.

The conference objectives will provide evidence for policy by discussing new and emerging scholarly research and sharing practical experience relating to a number of key policy areas on pastoralist production and livelihoods. These include:

  • Regional policies on pastoralism and the politics of pastoralist policy (with a particular focus on economic integration, mobility, and civil society)
  • Mobility and the sustainability of pastoralist production systems
  • Climate change: impacts and consequences
  • Commercialising pastoralism: markets and trade
  • Delivering basic services: human health, education, and veterinary
  • New aid approaches for strengthening pastoralist livelihoods, including social protection
  • Alternative livelihoods and exits from pastoralism, including education and small towns
  • Land grabbing, tenure and pastoralist responses
  • Pastoralist innovations
  • Regional conflict dynamics in the Horn of Africa, security and counter-insurgency, and the implications for pastoralist development
  • Social difference and pastoralism, including youth and gender dynamics

Participants will include researchers from Africa as well as scholars from elsewhere working on pastoralist issues in Africa. A limited number of spaces are available for policy-makers, field practitioners and donors with an interest in critically reflecting on pastoralist livelihoods. Our aim is both to assess the state of the art, but also to look forward to future challenges, defining new research and policy agendas.

Participation is by invitation only with the selection being led by the Tufts University programme in Ethiopia. Further details and background on the conference are available from Leah Plati (Institute of Development Studies):

October 2010