From Subsistence to Commercialisation: Legal Implications of ‘Ecowas Regulations on Transhumance’ on Livestock Investment Options

Author: Jane Ezirigwe

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: LLB (Hons.) (Abuja) LLM (London) MBA (EBS) PhD (UCT); Senior Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 10 Issue 1, p. 83 – 132


West Africa is expected to experience rapid population growth with a projected population of 796,494,188 in 2050, most of whom will be unemployed youths in quest of job and business opportunities. The increasing growth in population with an increasing demand for livestock products and a ready workforce presents exciting opportunities for investment in livestock production, job creation, poverty reduction, and food security. Nonetheless, private investment may not happen in a form that will achieve these gains if the ECOWAS texts are left in their current form, in promoting the transhumance business model to the detriment of meaningful large-scale investments that will increase productivity and create jobs for the region’s booming young population. This article adopts a socio-legal approach to examine the ECOWAS Decision and Regulation on Transhumance in order to determine whether they have adequately promoted transhumance in a form that is not inimical to other business investment options for livestock production in the region. Its aim is to show that the regulatory framework has not effectively ensured that transhumance exists in a form that will still provide other business models with opportunities to competitively engage in livestock production. This is given the fact that the transhumance method has been commercialised and even criminalised in ways that produce significant negative consequences for the livestock business. It recommends concrete plans with a view to phasing out transhumance across borders and designating rangelands in semi-arid areas of the region.