Increasing violent conflict between herders and farmers in Africa: Claims and evidence
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This paper reports the results of a literature review and postal survey focused on the many relatively recent claims of increasing violent conflict between herders and farmers in semi-arid Africa. These claims are being used to prompt new policy and development interventions that could have profound implication on social and economic relations and natural resource use in semi-arid areas. However, the review revealed that few of these claims are supported by compelling evidence, and even the historical analyses which were reviewed fail to provide the rigorous time-series data necessary to confirm the hypothesis that violent farmer-herder conflict is generally increasing in semi-arid Africa. This lack of convincing evidence that violent conflict is increasing should engender a more circumspect approach on the part of policy makers and development professionals alike.