Changes in property rights among the Afar in Ethiopia
In three districts in Afar of northeastern Ethiopia, traditional land-use arrangements among pastoralists, changes in pastoral customary rights and resource-based conflicts among various pastoral groups were studied. The results showed that the state is the biggest actor behind changes in property rights, especially in better-endowed areas. The state-driven changes have led to increasing conflicts between pastoralists and the state and led to disparity among clan members in level of resource use, as the exclusion of some clan members was facilitated. Conflicts nurtured by obscurely defined property rights are widespread among Afar pastoral groups, causing humanitarian crisis, loss of assets (mainly livestock), underutilisation of pastoral resources by creating “no-go” areas, and underutilisation of market opportunities. A short paper from 2008 based on this study (a doctoral thesis) can be found here.