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

In 2010-11, a drought in the arid and semiarid lowlands (ASAL) of the Horn of Africa rendered over 13 million people in need of food and caused a devastating famine in southern Somalia. The drought also raised concerns over the viability and sustainability of pastoralist livelihoods in the region, thus justifying strategies that aim to sedentarise and diversify livelihoods. Countering this view are advocates of wholesale protection of pastoralist livelihoods. Yet despite these very contrasting views, very little research directly addresses the question of where public resources should be invested. This paper advocates a more balanced development strategy involving movement out of pastoralism, modernisation of pastoralism and cross-cutting transformations of the demographic, social and political structure of ASAL populations. The paper finds that most non-pastoralist livelihoods in ASAL yield lower incomes than pastoralist, with the exception of urban livelihoods and irrigated farming.