While the links between poverty and conflict are widely recognized, economic development interventions and peacebuilding interventions are often implemented separately. This results in missed opportunities to harness economic development to promote peace and to open the doors to development by reducing violence. To address this gap, Mercy Corps conducted a combined conflict and market assessment looking at the relationship between cattle raiding and economic development in the Karamoja region of Uganda.
The assessment found that economic interests are the primary drivers of cattle raiding, that most raids are conducted by youth for their own personal gain, and that cattle raiding is becoming increasingly commercialized and sophisticated. In addition, the assessment identified a number of systemic market weaknesses that can be addressed in order to provide viable economic opportunities and reduce incentives for raiding. In line with the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on conflict, security, and development, Mercy Corps argues for an integrated approach that addresses both poverty and conflict incrementally and in tandem. The report concludes with recommendations for integrating economic development and peacebuilding programming in Karamoja.