Migrant pastoralists on the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) of East Africa are among the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. Most of their economic activity is based around livestock herding and management.
Cattle, camel, sheep, and goats are the most common animals and function much like “banks on legs” – these animals represent the bulk of the asset wealth of the households that own them.
There are over 8 million migrant pastoralists in Ethiopia and 3 million in Kenya, accounting for a significant proportion of agricultural GDP and grazing land in each country.
Russell Toth is a Lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Economics and an alumnus of Cornell’s Economics Department.