Pastoral areas in the Horn of Africa are frequently seen as a region of poverty and constant crisis, where repeated rain failures leave millions of people dependent on food aid. The long-term erosion of pastoralists’ resilience is ascribed to various causes: a degraded range, the loss of key grazing lands, increasing population pressure and conflict. But pastoralism is also a modern industry, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars each year from a thriving international trade, creating an increasingly commercialised livestock-owning class coexist-ing with an ever poorer majority.
This presents a dual challenge. How can this vital economic sector be supported, at the same time as sup-porting the majority of pastoralists to remain independent, with resilient livelihoods?