The Horn of Africa (HoA), which comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, has an estimated combined population of 210 million people and is one of the world’s most food-insecure regions. Most of the inhabitants are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists living on marginalized lands. Poverty, rapid population growth and conflicts are ripe in the region. The recurrent droughts have induced high rates of crop failures, diminished potential livestock grazing lands and result in loss of lives and livelihoods.
In 2011, the region faced the worst drought in decades that decimated crops and livestock, and left over 12 million people, mainly the pastoralist communities, in distress across the affected region. To address the issue of recurrent drought in a sustainable manner, the Heads of State and Government of the HoA region convened a Summit in Nairobi in September 2011 that culminated in the Nairobi Strategy – The Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) – for enhanced regional partnership to eradicate drought emergencies in the region. Considering that the response to the crisis needs to be regional in nature, it was agreed that the implementation of the HoAI will be led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Prior to the devastating drought, the African Development Bank had carried out a Regional Study on Sustainable Livestock Development in the HoA. The study assessed the prevalent status and improvements required for water and pasture development and management to support livestock development in the arid and semi-arid lands of the HoA and to mitigate the perennial drought experienced in the region. The results of the study led to the preparation of a 15-year investment program, aimed at developing drought resilience and eradicating the negative impacts through improving the livestock management systems in the region.