News / Africa

Report: E. African Minorities Losing Resources

Karo tribesman wears a gun as he guards his goats on the bank of the River Omo, April 2002 (file photo).
Karo tribesman wears a gun as he guards his goats on the bank of the River Omo, April 2002 (file photo).

London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) has released a report detailing how minority groups in resource-scarce East Africa face major challenges over access to and control of natural resources.

According to MRGI, national and international companies are moving into East African areas traditionally occupied by minority communities, fueling competition for increasingly scarce resources and deepening longstanding animosities and conflicts between communities.

"Because you have had this influx of companies [and the subsequent] scramble for resources in Africa, many of them have found themselves specifically having to go to minority areas," says MRGI's Africa regional information officer Mohamed Matovu. "Already these are disputed lands because many of them are held in trust, others are communally owned by communities. So they seem to be no-man’s lands, but there are actually communities living here."

The report cites the example of Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya, where the Maasai people lay traditional claim to the land. Several decades ago, a national energy company and farmers began moving into the area, affecting 20,000 Maasai.

The Maasai argue that power installations prevent them from using the pasture in the area to feed their cattle, their main source of livelihood. Conflicts between the Maasai and the newcomers continue today.

Another concern is ongoing construction of the Gilgel Gibe lll hydroelectric dam on Ethiopia's Omo River, a vital Lake Turkana tributary. A controversial project that critics describe as a severe threat to the indigenous population, its completion has been jeopardized by withdrawal of financial backers and a campaign of international opposition.

"River Omo is actually the major inlet into Lake Turkana," says pastoralist Abdullahi Dima, MRGI's expert in resource conflict management. "If this is going to be tapped for hydro-electric power ... you can just imagine the type of problem that will arise. We are in the era of climate change, [and] if Lake Turkana, this whole huge resource, is going to dry up, this has a direct bearing on the lives and the livelihoods of the communities around this region."

Dima predicts that the Turkana and Merille minority groups in the area, both of whom rely on herding as their primary economic activity, will carry out more attacks against one another as they struggle to get water for their cattle.

The organization defines “minority groups” as being disadvantaged ethnic, national, religious, linguistic or cultural communities smaller in number than the rest of the population, wishing to maintain their identity.

In East Africa, these are typically herders and other indigenous people. Examples include the Olkaria Maasai in Kenya, the Karamojong in Uganda and the Dinka Bor in South Sudan.

The report says that, although the minority groups differ in size, location and livelihood, they all face similar challenges: diminishing natural resources, insecurity, and discrimination from the wider society.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid