Access to Land and Resource Management in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa
In the Horn of Africa, where most people depend on crop cultivation and raising livestock for their livelihood, land is not considered as property, but as a vital resource to which everybody needs access. Access and rights to land in this part of Africa have multi-dimensional implications: economic, political and spiritual. However, when land is owned by the state or by land-owners, there are major implications for the tenants in exercising their civil and political rights. Furthermore, for some people, land has a spiritual significance; they believe humans come into being from the crust of the earth.
In several countries in the region, peasant farmers have been coerced into following the wishes of the land-owners, be they state or individual. Thus land issues are extremely sensitive and unless handled and addressed carefully they can become the cause of violent conflicts. Prospects for sustainable peace and development in the region very much depend on these rights being respected.