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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.