The Political Economy of Extractives in the Borderlands
The first contribution titled: Extractives in the Horn of Africa: Regional potential and challenges by Muhumuza Didas discusses government legitimacy, among others as a critical factor for the success of the extractive industry; the need for communal literacy on the nature of the extractives to manage expectations; engagement deficit (local governments capacity gaps to manage the sector) and the need for a more responsible investment from the revenue accrued from the extractives avoiding the temptation of mega and impressionistic projects. The second contribution by Skovsted and Bamberger titled : Oil in Somalia: Renewed interest in Somali oil focuses on Somalia where oil exploration is exacerbating and complicating already existing conflicts and highlights possible mitigating policy responses. According to them the overarching issue related to oil exploration in Somalia is the question of ownership, which is a contentious issue between the Somali Federal Government, the different regional administrations as well as clans and sub-clans in whose lands oil exploration is taking place. According to the authors, a way forward, is to temporarily suspend the exploration activities and focus on creating solid political solutions to the territorial, clan-related disputes and find legal solutions concerning ownership and distribution of natural resources. The authors argue that the current decline in oil prices is a blessing in disguise for Somalia, creating potential breathing space that would allow the settlement of legal disagreements and strike a political settlement a priori the discovery of oil. The third contribution by Kennedy Mkutu titled : Avoiding the local resource curse in Turkana, Kenya examines the political economy of oil exploration and discovery in the Turkana county of Kenya with a focus on impacts on local communities. There is, above all, a threat of dispossession of land of the Turkana pastoralists. The author also pinpoints a host of issues such as, loss of access to water sources, potentially adverse environmental consequences and the perceived negligible socio-economic benefits accruing to local communities, all of which have led or can lead to conflicts between communities and the oil companies. More ominously oil has already fuelled inter-ethnic conflict between the Turkana and their neighbors. The fourth contribution "Development by dispossession?" A reappraisal of the Adola Gold Mine in southern Ethiopia deals with the institutional framework and impact of the extractives on local communities in the Ethiopian context. The contribution by Asebe Regassa looks at extractives and the private sector through a case study of the Adola gold mining and how, despite its high profitability, it has adversely impacted on the livelihood of local communities expressed in the form of continuous land dispossession. Coupled with absence of a trickle down effect this has generated local resentment, which has occasionally resulted in protests and their violent suppression.