Governing economic hubs and flow in Somali East Africa ( GOVSEA)

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GOVSEA is a six-year (2014-2019) collaborative research programme which studies state formation dynamics in conditions of limited statehood by examining the governance of economic hubs and flows within Somali inhabited territories in East Africa. In the last two decades, statehood has been absent or limited in these territories and yet impressive trade growth and both top-down and bottom-up state building initiatives have been witnessed but remain understudied. This project aims to produce empirically grounded studies on the nexus between trade and, the emergence and erosion of, state or non-state political orders in Somali territories.

The project will study market places and different selected ‘bundles’ of commodities in three trans-boundary trade corridors: (1) Northern corridor: Jijiga town – Port of Berbera (2) Southern corridor: Nairobi – Garissa – Kismayo and (3) Central corridor: Galkayo – Garowe – Bosasso. The project will analyze how trade and transport operators manage selected commodities in situations of weak controls? how trading and transport of these commodities effect security, revenue and regulation? and how these processes generate different types of authorities?

This research informs development and humanitarian actors supporting animal husbandry, trade policy and peace-building in the region. It also contributes to ongoing international debates about peace and state-building in fragile nations, the political economy of development and geographies of violence in the target areas.

This project is funded by DANIDA and implemented by a consortium of five Danish and East African academic institutions; Roskilde University, DIIS, University of Hargeisa, University of Nairobi and Forum for Social Studies. The overall research design allows: thematic integration, analytical generalization and theory building, joint research activities and capacity-building and knowledge transfer among members of the research consortium. This is one of the first research initiatives to build academic capacities of predominantly Somali social scientists.

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