Building capacity to help Africa trade better

IGAD State of the Region Report 2016


IGAD State of the Region Report 2016

IGAD State of the Region Report 2016
Photo credit: AU-UN IST | Stuart Price

Formulation of IGAD Strategy and Medium-Term Implementation Plan 2016-2020

Baseline Studies at the National Level on IGAD Priority Sectors

IGAD is committed to the vision of an integrated region that is prosperous and peaceful for the enjoyment of its population. The Popular Version of the Report is expected to help translate this vision into regionally shared hope and action within the Member States, and the populace of the region at large. It aims to supplement the State of the Region Report with a less-detailed overview of the IGAD Region. It is hoped that an increased understanding among the citizens of the Member States and other actors will improve the dialogue on regional integration and accelerate the realisation of the vision of IGAD.

In 2016, IGAD will launch a new generation of strategy and implementation plans for 2016-2020. Informed by more than 104 sectoral and country level studies, the State of the Region Report portrays the increasing dynamism and ongoing transformation in the IGAD region. It presents an array of opportunities and threats, successes registered and challenges faced by IGAD as a Regional Economic Community (REC) and one of the building blocks of the African Union.

Comparing the region’s current state of affairs with previous decades, the Report tracks the progress and envisages the desired state of affairs for the region. The progress in the region has to be seen as generational progression rather than a revolutionary transformation. As elucidated in this Report, IGAD has contributed to the overall improvement of the quality of life of the population in the region.

The Report assesses the performance of the region in six key sectors, namely Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food Security (ALFS); Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (NREP); Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration (RECI); Social Development (SD); Peace and Security (PS); and Gender Affairs (GA). In terms of inter-linkages and synergies, the Report examines the policy coherence within sectors and with each other, institutional collaboration and programme coordination of the various programmes under each sector. The Report further looks at IGAD’s corporate governance. Furthermore, looking ahead with foresight, the Report takes the implications of mega trends in the region into account and aims to offer scenarios for the strategic planning.

Executive Summary

Despite possessing all natural and human resources that could propel the region toward self-reliance, the IGAD region remains one of the world’s poorest regions. Aggregating the World Bank data of 2013, IGAD’s regional per capita income is much lower than the Sub-Saharan African average of US$1,624. Covering an area of 5.2m square km, and with about 80 percent of the IGAD region classified as Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASALs), more than 40 percent of the total landmass is considered economically unproductive. With a total population of well over 226 million people, nationals of IGAD MSs earn USD 1000 less than their African brothers and sisters in the remaining Sub-Saharan countries. The IGAD region (particularly Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan) is one of the highest recipients of international aid. With severe climatic changes and environmental degradation and heavily dependent on agriculture and livestock, the region is very prone to persistent extremes of severe droughts and flooding. Due to protracted conflicts and unresponsive governance, the populations in the IGAD region have faced and continue to face grave food insecurity and famine. In the arid borderlands of IGAD, droughts are frequent and often devastating and can cause communal clashes over scarce pasture and water resources. Periodic drought in 2011 affected 12 million people in the IGAD region, with an estimated death toll of 250,000 in Somalia alone, which caused massive displacement, often into resources-scarce border areas. As a result, in terms of the UNDP’s Human Development Index, all IGAD MSs are listed as exhibiting low human development. Half of the population lives below the poverty datum line of one US Dollar (USD) per day. Resource scarcity, displaced communities, poverty and underdevelopment in the border areas are exacerbating both communal conflict and civil wars. By 2050, the population of IGAD will be 400 million; a substantial increase from today’s 226 million. More than 55 per cent of this population will then be at a relatively young age (below 20 years). With the current promising economic development and overall improvement in governance, there will be an increase of income, and an emerging middle class. The population growth of the region will become an asset or liability depending on the transformation that the region adapts in terms of inclusive development, governance, and food security. Peace and security at national and regional level will be vital ingredient in this regional transformation.

The major social development indicators and gender equality indicators in the economic, social and political realms of the IGAD region show significant improvements. The overall proportion of the region’s population living below the poverty line has declined. Nevertheless, with such positive mega trends, there are also negative developments, that might portend a more negative scenario in the region. With an increasingly highly connected, conversant, mobile and vocal but unemployed young population, social unrest could unfortunately outpace reform. The shortage of fresh water, gaps between supply and demand for food, energy and electricity, and a widening income gap, as well as associated social unrest may increase vulnerabilities of communities to extremist ideologies, international crime and transnational threats. While violence could become increasingly localized, its impacts will tend to be global with transnational implications in the form of resultant forced migration of populations, spill over impact on neighbouring kin communities and impact on economic activities. With the development of cities that will increasingly prove difficult to govern and provide with basic services the surge in the income gap, associated social unrest and criminal activities may increase. With more extractive exploration and exploitation of natural resources in peripheral areas, more localized conflicts over land use may also increase. The peripheries are increasingly becoming centres of oil and mineral exploration and exploitation thus intensification of tension and conflicts between the traditional centres and peripheries may escalate.

With increasing mobility as well as the consequences of push and pull factors due to social networking and technological and transportation advancement, thousands of nationals from the IGAD region are on the move through dangerous routes. They have become victims of human trafficking, illegal mobility and smuggling along very dangerous routes to the Middle East (Gulf of Aden), Southern Africa, and North Africa (Mediterranean and Lampadusa). This has become the daily experience of many citizens of the region. With the surge of economic growth in the IGAD region, business transactions, foreign investment, transfers of remittances, passenger and freight volumes and the speed of air and other transportation, the region is increasingly becoming vulnerable to money laundering, drug trafficking and other trans-national financial criminal acts. Despite limited research, reports indicate that terrorism is also being increasingly funded by drug trafficking, poaching and human trafficking, using these routes. With fast growing services several major airlines in the region, and expanding aviation traffic to and from the region, drug trafficking can certainly be expected to increase.

IGAD is an agrarian region in which agriculture, including both crop production and livestock remains the backbone of the economy. Employing an overwhelming majority of the population, and contributing almost half of the overall GDP, exports of agricultural (primary) commodities still constitute more than 60 percent of export earnings. The opportunity for the expansion of agricultural products and livestock remains untapped. With an estimated livestock population of hundreds of millions, the IGAD region has not adequately made use of its resources. The Security nexus of water security, food security and energy security will increasingly be pronounced in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of IGAD as demand for water exceeds that available for people and livestock. This problem has been compounded by weak support from government and competition for resources amongst water users, which creates the potential for armed conflict. Most water-related interventions are short term and target a single problem, rather than the entire complex set of problems that communities face. Looking at the individual performance of the import and export trade regimes in Member States (MSs), the export sector reflects significant growth. Nevertheless the diversifications of export items as well as their export destinations have not increased. Due to poor manufacturing sector performance, the balance of trade remains negative and may continue as such for the near to medium future. Agri-processing and non-traditional commodities such as horticultural crops (including flowers) and meat products have increased in recent years but the share of these commodities in total export earnings is quite low.

The transformation of the economy of the IGAD region is unthinkable without also transforming the agricultural sector. Poverty eradication and overall food security could not be achieved without higher productivity in agriculture. Increased productivity in agriculture would directly improve the livelihood of 80 percent of the inhabitants of the IGAD region. More importantly, the main inputs for transforming the IGAD region’s economy would be agricultural products that feed into the industrial sector. The various policies and strategic frameworks of IGAD and MSs also recognize and help to underpin this vital role of the agricultural sector.

With the exception of Eritrea which does not yet have a constitution, all MSs have progressive constitutions with a varied degree of successful implementation of constitutional democracy. Nevertheless, institutional and societal practices remain regressive in terms of good governance, accountability, democracy, elections and transparency in public sector. While some MSs (Ethiopia for example) have standalone policies on foreign policy and security, others have included their policies and laws in vision statements such as Djibouti‘s Vision 2035, Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan and Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy, Kenya’s Vision 2030, Somalia’s Vision 2016, and Uganda’s Vision 2040.

The IGAD region has invested extensively in building transport corridors. Of the road, air, marine and rail transportation sectors, the road sector has been the most dominant. There are more than thirteen transport corridors that link the IGAD region in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan, and Djibouti. These transport corridors are instrumental in promoting economic efficiency as they link several economic centers through various modes of transport. With the highest share of public expenditure, the lion’s share of the region’s current transformation of the region comes from the transportation sector. Despite being in its infancy, the railway corridors are growing and are expected to continue growing in the next decade. For example, covering 4,744 kms, railway construction between Djibouti and Ethiopia is planned to be completed in 2015. The airline carriers in the IGAD region such as Ethiopian Airlines and Kenyan Airways have linked the region by air. The maritime sector enjoys similar importance. Over the years its capacity has grown considerably while piracy and illegal activities have seriously affected the sector. With more regional stability, the economic contributions of the ‘Blue Economy’ associated to the maritime will increase and enhance the integration with land-linked countries. Despite recent growth and given its potential to contribute to economic development, the tourism sector is not contributing as expected. Similarly in spite of the recent massive expansion in the quantity of services, the ICT sector suffers from infrastructure and quality related challenges, lack of skilled manpower and a deficiency of regulatory frameworks.

Development in the region also has brought demands for certain skills such as those in construction, transport, service, manufacturing etc. So far the informal sector and the public service remain the main sources for employment opportunities. The private sector is not yet meeting expectations in generating jobs and reducing unemployment. Thus, in a bid to help the informal economy and the private sector to contribute their fair share to the development of the region, IGAD has established the Business Forum to addressing constraints that are hampering the informal sector and the growth of the private sector such as challenges in relation to procedures and attempts to licence and tax the informal sector, infrastructure, credit, work premises, extension services, and market linkages.

Examination of the major gender equality indicators in the economic, social and political realms show that significant improvements have been registered in the region over the years. A three-pronged approach that targeted the setting up of necessary legal and policy frameworks, the establishment of institutional structure/s and delivery of packages of services aimed at empowering women has succeeded in bringing about positive results in terms of gender equality indicators in IGAD. Gender equality and empowerment are conceived as functions of political economy and social status in each country. Thus gender equality and empowerment are expressed through their place in, and the benefits of women from, the various sectors. These include in politics and decision making, legal and policy frameworks, and institutional frameworks for gender equality.

IGAD has successfully developed more than 32 policy related documents and studies detailing with aspects of all the sectors. IGAD and MSs have policies, strategies and plans that focus on various issues including stability, poverty eradication, resilience, sustainability of governance of natural resources, and protection of the environment, pro-poor economic development among others. In the past strategic periods, nonetheless the policies have lagged behind the actual changes in integrative opportunities, peace and security efforts and bilateral cooperation. In order to ensure the ownership of the transformation agenda in the region, IGAD needs resources matching up with the challenges it is facing. Excessive dependence of IGAD member states on donors to meet the basic needs of the population and particularly their inherent state functions remains a serious setback both in terms of value system and the actual setting national priorities. A major lesson for the IGAD MSs is that public revenues need to match the population growth rate if a country is to sustainably meet its social demands. In this regard, reform in the revenue collection capabilities of states will be a determining factor.

To effectively respond to the challenges besieging the region and to meet the human security needs of the population, IGAD has to transform further. The State of the Region Report focuses on all the six priority sectors of IGAD, namely i) Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food Security (ALFS), ii) Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (NREP), iii) Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration (RECI), iv) Social Development (SD), v) Peace and Security (PS), and vi) Gender Affairs (GA). After providing a brief sector introduction, each section of the Report focuses on an individual sector and provides a situation analysis of the sector, the root causes and effects of the challenges facing the sector, major opportunities for the development of the sector, current national and regional level policies, strategies and institutional frameworks. It further identifies the gaps and opportunities for the development of the sector. The mega trends in the region (also each sector) have been included. While identifying and addressing the regional and national implications and consequences of the development of each sector, the Report also explores the IGAD region’s cooperation, coordination, and collaboration with regional and international actors.

Furthermore, IGAD’s work is informed by the various continental frameworks, mainly AU, major initiatives and basic documents such as Agenda 2063, Constitutive Act, APSA and AGA, PIDA, CAADP, and that of the on-going consultations on Common African Positions related to Migration, Humanitarian System, SDGs, FDD etc. The recommendations are also prioritised based on the strategic importance and urgency and above all their return and multiplier effect on impact. In this regard, each section also provides complementarities between the three levels of governance (national, regional and continental). The normative (policy and legislations), institutional (decision making and implementing organs), collaborative (institutional working procedures and mechanisms) frameworks as well as resources (both human and financial) aspects of complementarities of efforts are also discussed. By identifying the key lessons learnt and best practices, the report also provides substantive sectorial recommendations. It also examines both the inter-sector linkages and synergies and institutional corporate development. Furthermore, it provides a list of areas of reform required for better inter-sectorial and corporate governance within IGAD and other entities including MSs, other RECs and the AU.

The recommendations for IGAD refer mainly to the overlapping consensus and commonalities identified under the country and regional Sectorial reports. Thus, the recommendations focus on all organs of IGAD including but not limited to the Secretariat. It is clear that these recommendations will not be implemented, nor the desired status achieved in one strategic period of four years. Hence, the need to visualise the strategic planning and implementation within IGAD and Member States in continuum, which the implementation of many of the recommendations will not to be completed with one strategic planning period. In order to determine the recommendations to be taken first and allocate resources according to importance and urgency, prioritisation becomes critically necessary. Continuous progressive adjustment of prioritisation will also be needed within the next strategic periods. To help the determination of prioritisation and allocation of resources, the Report provides principles for prioritisation, which should constitute principles for the determination of priorities even with the new strategic plan. The details of the principles for the determination of priorities of the recommendations are provided under second set of recommendations to the Strategic Planning Process.

Accordingly, the Report advances recommendations from both MSs and IGAD.

Recommendations to the MSs:

  1. States need to be transformed into agents of human security, which should be their ultimate purpose, through undertaking reforms in the following five functions:

    1. Delivery of basic services where extreme poverty is reduced progressively, and where development outpaces various stressors (demographic, climate change, conflict, etc);

    2. Capable and responsive governance that enables and accelerates the delivery of developmental services through substantive community participation, and robust contributions from non-state actors;

    3. Legitimacy of government through an authority emanating from popular legitimacy not only through participatory, but also competitive elections, and exercised through accommodation of diversity, as well as democratic constitutionalism that collectively balances delivery and democracy;

    4. Inclusive development that addresses the risk of social unrest due to unjustifiable inequality in income and the absence of decent living conditions for people, through distributive social development including pro-poor policies;

    5. Revenue generation and collection in order to fund the vital core functions inherently of the state (such as essential legitimately expected public services that include public law and order, national defense and security, health and education, strategic installations and infrastructure etc) through internal resource mobilization mechanisms including taxation, resource extraction and public contributions.

  2. States need to focus on building the following four capabilities:

    1. Predictive capabilities related to early warning = function of scientific and communication capacity;

    2. Preventive capabilities related to the proactive developmental early intervention = function of socio-economic capacity, pro-poor policy, governance with foresight and the application of the principles of subsidiarity at national and regional level through decentralization, devolution or federation;

    3. Responsive capabilities related to the reactive intervention including relief = function of socio-economic capacity, governance for effective delivery of basic legitimately expected services to the population; and

    4. Adaptive capabilities related to the abilities and coping mechanisms of societies, communities, state and non-state institutions to ‘bounce back’ after facing adversity, shocks and changing environments = function of socio-cultural traits, social innovative, traditional structures such as the informal economy, small scale cross border trade, cross border spontaneous nobilities and migration, and natural resources sharing.

  3. Target poverty as the number one threat to the regional peace and as a barrier to integrative opportunities through a sustained and continued socio-economic development. The above-mentioned capabilities (the predictive, preventive, responsive and adaptive capacities of IGAD countries) are certainly a function of resilience in the face of vulnerabilities to internal and external factors and shocks, which would also most often be a function of their socio-economic development status. Thus, sustainable peace, integration and prosperity will require the acceleration of the fight against poverty.

  4. Ensure the implementation of the principle of subsidiarity at national level that the ultimate aim and end state of government policies and institutions are to capacitate local communities and local authorities to govern and run their public affairs for the greater food of the community.

  5. Empower democratic citizenry as the last guarantor of good governance, development and peace by ensuring accountability of officials to be responsive to the need for good governance and including in the fight to combat corruption.

Recommendations to the IGAD:

  1. Shift of Mission within IGAD: From Norm-Setting to Norm-Implementation, Advance towards the norm-implementation phase of existing treaties and policies. Progress in the implementation of existing policies will ultimately determine whether the IGAD and its MSs will effectively respond to peoples’ demands and reduce natural and man-made disasters.

  2. Take draft IGAD Treaty ratification, domestication and effective implementation as priority of this shift within IGAD. The draft Treaty will provide entry point that relies on the new mandate, legitimacy, expertise, competencies and success stories of IGAD. Once ratified and enters into force, the Treaty puts IGAD’s next generation strategies on strong legal standing and political footing with claimable mandate and rights vis-à-vis MSs and other actors in the region. However, like all other normative frameworks, the Treaty will only bestow IGAD the mandate, and its effective implementation remains in the hands of the IGAD organs, IGAD Secretariat, Partners and above all the MSs. Thus, the Treaty will need a special implementation roadmap with necessary resource to create an enabling environment for its speedy ratification, domestication and implementation.

  3. Overhaul the ‘engine’ of IGAD – the Secretariat in order to effectively discharge IGAD’s responsibility of delivering a peaceful, integrated and prosperous region. For this, purpose IGAD needs to remove the following five constraints that have bound the IGAD Secretariat since its creation: 1) radical internal reforms of the Secretariat by bestowing a more extensive more mandate through the speedy adoption and ratification of a revised draft Treaty and other instruments; 2) providing IGAD with more human and financial resources including the implementation of the recommendations of recent external and internal evaluations; 3) recruitment of more competent staff members based on meritocracy and to a limited degree representation; 4) ending norm-setting and utilising all resources for norm-implementation; and 5) increasing contributions and collection from MSs and seeking alternative sources of funding.

This publication has been republished with permission from IGAD.

IGAD Regional Strategy 2016-2020

The IGAD Regional Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2016-2020 provides the overall framework to guide IGAD in delivering its mandate. The region is going through rapid and tough new challenges and obstacles including climate change, resource scarcity, economic shocks from global economic crises, security threats, fragility and conflicts among others. These challenges will shape the lives of current and future generations of this region. This strategic document appeals to these new dynamics and takes into account new initiatives and frameworks such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its 10-Years Implementation Plan, the new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) and the IGAD CAADP Compact among others.

IGAD perceives the Strategy first and foremost as a tool to guide her in the implementation process of her mandate, owned by the Member States and supported by the IGAD Development Partners who finance most of the programmes. It brings our programs together in one single and coherent strategy – speaking with one voice; and positions our brand identity as a Regional Economic Community (REC). It strengthens our effectiveness and relevance as a regional cooperation and integration community that addresses the challenges of the 21st century. Finally, it holds us accountable and tracks our progress against our strategic priorities. The Strategy is not an end by itself but a process that will be followed by a comprehensive 5-year implementation plan. Similarly, annual operational plans outlining the activities, financial and human resources as well as organisational and technological requirements will be elaborated for each year. An appropriate Monitoring and Evaluation system with a set of simple and agreeable indicators that measure the impact that our activities have on the populations we serve across all our countries of intervention will be established.

Furthermore, the Strategy envisages that:

  • The IGAD Member States address common development problems more efficiently and effectively through joint efforts in agricultural development and environment protection; economic cooperation and integration as well as peace and security.

  • The IGAD Secretariat, national institutions and other organisations in the Member States have enhanced capacity to deliver the IGAD mandate.

  • The Member States and the Development Partners Partners use IGAD as a development vehicle especially on the basis of its experiences and knowledge on trans-boundary issues.

IGAD believes that this new generation of the Strategy for the next five years will make substantial difference because of the available opportunities for access to resources for development. There is increasing momentum for developing countries to grow their economies and attain SDGs and meet AU Agenda 2063 obligations. This momentum will be further ensured as the Strategy has taken appropriately into account existing sectoral strategies, the ISAP, IDDRSI and CAADP frameworks which are fostering enhanced partnership in resourcing for capacity development and drought resilience and economic growth.


IGAD Regional Strategy, Volume 1: The Framework (PDF, 2.9 MB)

IGAD Regional Strategy, Volume 2: Implementation Plan 2016-2020 (PDF, 1.75 MB)


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010