Resource-based conflict in South Sudan and Gambella (Ethiopia): when water, land and oil mix with politics
Author(s)Cascão, Ana Elisa
Horn of Africa
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AbstractThis article looks at the issue of resources-based conflicts in the Horn of Africa region, examining two different case-studies – the newly independent country of South Sudan and the Gambella region, the westernmost in Ethiopia. It analyses how natural resources may have been or are at the core of the conflicts that have been affecting the two regions in recent decades. It is well documented that oil (a valuable natural resource) has been a main factor of competition and contention in the long-lasting conflict between North and South Sudan. But if we look at the internal conflicts within South Sudan, other natural resources appear as key elements of a complex puzzle of conflicts, where access to land and water for livelihoods figure prominently as main bones of contention. Similar patterns of conflict can be observed just across the South Sudan-Ethiopian border, in the Gambella region. The article assesses how the management and allocation of water and land resources has been the basis for both conflict and cooperation between different societal groups.