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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2020)

A Framework for Development in Rural Arid and Semi-Arid Environments in Africa : The Somalia Case

Mitchell, John Talmadge

Titre : A Framework for Development in Rural Arid and Semi-Arid Environments in Africa : The Somalia Case

Auteur : Mitchell, John Talmadge

Université de soutenance : Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) In Environmental Design and Planning 2020

This study proposes a framework and a process promoting creation of sustainable jobs and businesses in rural, arid and semi-arid agricultural conflict zones of Sub Saharan Africa, focusing on Somalia’s societal stabilization and conflict mitigation. This task requires developing risk-reducing measures for infrastructure and service delivery in rural, post-conflict zones.

Literature reviews identified two economic growth theories rooted in sustainability concepts for localized, pro-poor development. Ecological Economics Theory (EET) and Endogenous Growth Theory (EGT) are the philosophical bases establishing investment priorities. Additional research regarding Somali culture, key conflict factors, and potential business opportunities, provides an understanding of salient facts in Somalia’s on-going, 27-years of war and potential culturally acceptable development pathways.

Informal sources, Somali and non-Somali, were consulted to further identify and verify potential avenues for economic growth, sustainability, educational opportunities, allowing Somalia to emerge from the strife it has endured. Visits to Somalia and Somaliland confirmed that livestock, its products and related requirements, are key components for economic growth and job creation. Investigation, via pilot testing and case studies, was undertaken of technologies with potential to improve productive capacity and disrupt existing value chains. Initial framework elements were evaluated for job and business creation, through unstructured, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaire of Somali officials, and Somali and non-Somali conflict zone development practitioners. The pilot test used a small sample size and is a limitation of this work.

Findings from the literature review, informal discussions, and the pilot test are synthesized into the framework presented in Chapter 5. The framework proposes development of an innovative, disruptive, and scalable business model that facilitates the simultaneous implementation of renewable energy production. It targets education for the livestock and agroforestry industry of Somalia, improving job and business opportunities. The model proposes modification of used shipping containers for the creation of modular elements, to satisfying infrastructural building components to initiate skills practice, job, and business growth.


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