What is Pastoralism?

  • Pastoralism is a form of livelihood as well as a cultural & social system based on livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and/or camels) and different levels of mobility.
  • The production and subsistence systems are often combined with other livelihood strategies (e.g. agriculture).

Where are pastoralists in Africa located?

Source: UNDP 2007, Armed violence in african pastoralist communities

The importance of pastoralism:

  • approx. 25 mio. pastoralists in africa
  • approx. 240 mio. agro-pastoralists in africa
  • approx. 60% of the production of meat in africa
  • approx. 30% of the gdp in many african countries
  • Pastoralists are marginalized in most of the african countries.

Challenges pastoralists face:

Their living space and natural resource base are diminishing due to…

  • expanding settlements
  • mechanized & irrigated farms
  • established political borders between african countries
  • increasing population density
  • establishment of nature reserves


  • increasing competition over water and vegetation
  • climate change
  • increasing aridity
  • desertification
  • political, social & economic marginalization


Consequences of marginalization:

  • decreased access to water
  • pressure on natural resources
  • overuse of ecosystems
  • overgrazing
  • poorly fed livestock
  • increasing number of livestock
  • low productivity
  • impoverishment, hunger
  • migration
  • violent conflicts