The cross-border areas of the Horn of Africa have historically suffered from under-investment. They already have some of the highest poverty rates in the region, and this is bing exacerbated by ever more frequent drought. Competition over dwindling resources has repeatedly sparked conflict, and added to other grievances that fuel discontent and radicalisation. The borderlands act as a transit point for considerable numbers of displaced populations and migrants, providing fertile ground for criminal networks of traffickers and smugglers.
While each individual country has its own specific national priorities and programs, the communities that inhabit cross-border areas face common challenges and are often interconnected through, inter alia, natural resource sharing, livestock movement, regional trade and trans-boundary human and animal diseases. These unifying factors, including space, water and pasture, markets and infrastructure; as well as the common challenges, such as vulnerability to common shocks and stresses, such as drought and conflicts, cannot be tackled through national programs alone as they demand cross-border collaboration and coordinated interventions; and are all are typical entry points that form ideal targets when considering cross-border development.
To make the borderlands more prosperous and stable, the EU is working in partnership with IGAD and UNDP to support governments, communities and the private sector on all sides of the borders. Through investment in conflict prevention, cross-border trade and private sector development, it is expected that livelihoods will be diversified and that the management of shared natural resources will be improved. This will give people living in these cross-border areas better prospects, a greater sense of belonging, and create shared interests across communities and borders. The first phase of the work will take place along two main axes: Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia, and along the Ethiopia-Sudan border.
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