Livestock and Conflict in South Sudan

29th October 2018
Author: Idris Iffat

This review drew largely on a mixture of academic and grey literature to assess the relationship between livestock and conflict in South Sudan. Livestock are massively important in South Sudan. The sector is the main source of income and food for the majority of the population: pastoral farming is appropriate for South Sudan’s challenging ecology, characterised by flooding, drought, swamplands and so on. Livestock bestow social status and prestige. They are used for payment of dowries, to pay compensation and settle disputes, and – in the absence of an established banking sector – serve as a reliable way to keep assets. Livestock outnumber people in South Sudan, leading to strain on natural resources – exacerbated by the fact that they are so revered that people rarely kill their animals for meat, preferring to pay for imported meat . Given the centrality of livestock to South Sudanese economy, culture and society it is not surprising that livestock have an important role in conflict: both as drivers of conflict, and being negatively impacted by conflict. Moreover, these two facets are heavily intertwined, with one often reinforcing the other.

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Suggested Citation

Idris, I. (2018). Livestock and conflict in South Sudan. K4D Helpdesk Report 484. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


29th October 2018


Continent: Africa

Country: South Sudan