SOAS University of London

SOAS research impact on EU programming for the Horn of Africa

14 February 2017

During July and August 2016, the Research and Evidence Facility conducted field research in the three cross-border areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, centred on migration and instability, as well as sources of vulnerability. The objective was to help the EU Trust Fund to gain a better understanding of the political, social, environmental and economic dynamics in those areas, in order to be in a position to design an evidence-based project on the ground.

The areas where the research took place are characterised by a lack of resources, poor infrastructure, instability and a lack of basic services, with unemployment levels low and poverty levels high.  Vulnerabilities associated with resource scarcity are widespread, caused by natural shocks such as climate change and droughts as well as man-made development projects. These pressures trigger conflict among pastoralist communities who rely heavily on access to water, livestock and land for farming.

Based on the research findings, a €63.9 million project financed by the EU Trust Fund for Africa was developed during 2016 and launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the 21 st January 2017. Aimed at enhancing development across these borders, the project Collaboration in Cross-Border Areas was launched to seek innovative approaches to make borderlands more stable and prosperous.

Activities to be initiated in early 2017 will support national and local authorities, local communities and the private sector, as well as invest in conflict prevention, cross-border trade and private sector development. The project aims to improve and diversify livelihoods and allow shared natural resources to be better managed. Through this support, people living in these cross-border areas – and particularly vulnerable groups such as displaced persons, women and children – will have better prospects and a greater sense of belonging, as well as shared interests across communities and borders.

For more details on REF research activities visit