Conference name, dates, place

International Conference on Development Studies in Ethiopia, July 11-12, 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Document Type


Presentation Date



This paper outlines the emergence of pastoral settlements in urban and peri-urban spaces of Ethiopia focusing on Yabello, the present capital of Borana zone. By doing so, the paper seeks to contribute to ongoing debates on the manner in which pastoral livelihoods are changing in Ethiopia, and elsewhere in Africa. More specifically, a livelihoods approach is adopted to examine the wellbeing of Borana pastoralists in peri-urban spaces of Yabello in terms of their asset status and use of those assets to pursue various livelihood strategies. The conceptualization of assets goes beyond economic assets to incorporate social and human assets which are equally important to improve wellbeing. Due to intra-household differentiation, particular attention is paid to gendered differences in livelihood strategies and their consequent implications for men and women’s wellbeing. Drawing on data from a household survey that covered 170 households within a 20 km radius of Yabello, the paper highlights the ‘paucity’ of assets owned by Borana pastoralists in urban and peri-urban settlements which limits the range of livelihood strategies they can access to those which are ‘opportunistic’ and unsustainable in the long term. The results also suggest the importance of gender as a critical determinant of Borana men and women’s participation in various livelihood strategies available within urban and peri-urban spaces. The paper proposes strategies for incorporating these pastoralists into development planning with a view to enhancing the sustainability of their livelihoods.