Case Study: Moyale – Marsabit-Borana Border

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Kenya and Ethiopia share a 860 kilometre (530 mile) border that partitions the northern edge of Kenya’s Marsabit County and the southern portion of the Ethiopia’s Borana Zone. The main town in the border region, Moyale, is in fact two adjacent towns separated by the Kenya-Ethiopia boundary. The British and Italian colonial powers drew the border, which splits several ethnic communities who now live on either side of the administrative divide. In Marsabit, and the Borana Zone the largest and most powerful groups are the Borana, Burji, Gabra, and Rendille, while the Ariaal, Samburu, and Turkana are also present as minorities. i The main sources of income in Moyale and the surrounding areas are pastoralism and cross-border commerce in livestock and dry food. In December 2015, the governments of Kenya and Ethiopia signed a five-year, KES 20 billion (approx. $200 million USD) trade and development pact supported by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The project, entitled “Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Socio-economic Transformation: Marsabit County of Kenya and Borana Zone, Ethiopia”, is designed to boost economic growth and pacify the region’s endemic livestock raids and political violence. ii, iii A major new highway from Isiolo in north-central Kenya to Moyale town was completed in November 2016 and has been credited with bolstering trade around Moyale on both sides of the border.

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