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Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie

The German Journal of Economic Geography

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Volume 60, Issue 1-2 (Jun 2016)

Issues

For better or worse: major developments affecting resource and conflict dynamics in northwest Kenya

Janpeter Schilling
  • Corresponding author
  • Janpeter Schilling, CLISEC, Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Grindelberg 7, 20144 Hamburg, Germany, and International Alert, London, UK, e-mail: janpeter.schilling@uni-hamburg.de
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/ Thomas Weinzierl
  • Corresponding author
  • Thomas Weinzierl, CLISEC, Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Germany
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/ Augustine Ekitela Lokwang / Francis Opiyo
  • Corresponding author
  • Francis Opiyo, United Nations Development Programme, Global Policy Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
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Published Online: 2016-06-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfw-2016-0001

Abstract:

The county of Turkana, located in northwest Kenya, has a long history of violent conflicts. These are fought by pastoral groups over scarce water, land, pasture and livestock resources. Now oil has been found in Turkana, fuelling both hopes for a resource blessing and fears of a resource curse. The discovery of oil coincides with four other major developments, namely the process of devolution, the large-scale infrastructure project LAPSSET (Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport), the discovery of significant aquifers and the Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. The aim of this paper is first to give an overview of these developments, and second to explore their interactions and their effects on existing and potentially new resource and conflict dynamics. The article is based on a review of the academic literature as well as newspaper articles, government records and company publications. Further, we analyze security data and draw on extensive field research conducted in northwest Kenya over the past five years. To illustrate potential pathways, we draft a worst and best case scenario. Our results suggest that the described developments will strongly affect the existing water, land and livestock resources and create new ones in the form of revenues, business opportunities, employment and infrastructure. To decrease the conflict potential and to maximize benefits, it is highly important for any project to closely include the local communities in a fair and transparent manner.

Keywords: : conflict; development; Kenya; land; oil; pastoralism; resources; Turkana; water.

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About the article

Published Online: 2016-06-15

Published in Print: 2016-06-01


Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, ISSN (Online) 2365-7693, ISSN (Print) 0044-3751, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfw-2016-0001.

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