This report explores the political economy of checkpoints in Somalia: What drives their formation? What impacts do they have on trade, society and political projects? To explore these factors, new empirical data is presented on the distribution and costs of checkpoints operated by al-Shabaab and government actors, along with allied militia. Key findings are contextualized through interviews…


The Baidoa corridor is a transport and trade route that connects Somalia’s coastal capital, Mogadishu, to Kenya via the border towns of Bula Hawa and Dollow, respectively. As with all trade and transport routes in Somalia, there are many checkpoints along the route that are controlled by a variety of different political and security actors.


The Garissa corridor is an essential artery for trade and exchange between Kismayo in Somalia’s Jubaland state, and the Kenyan city of Garissa. Checkpoints along this route were originally a militia phenomenon, with each sub-clan operating its own roadblocks.They proliferated during the clan militia period (1990–2006) with checkpoints controlled by warlords from various clans and sub-clans.…


The horrific fighting in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has grabbed news headlines since violence broke out on 15 April 2023. This violence shattered Khartoum’s reputation as an island of stability, with many noting that Khartoum had not been attacked in such a manner since the 19th century. The novelty of the attacks on Khartoum have however removed attention from the pervasive violence and…


Since the revolution in Sudan in April 2019,  the international community has been involved in numerous rounds of peace agreements and transitional frameworks. However, all of these agreements have been violated and eventually collapsed. 

On 21 June 2023, the Rift Valley Forum will host a roundtable discussion to explore the role of the international community in Sudanese politics…


This paper focuses on the origins and the political and military objectives of the two main internal actors – the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — in Sudan’s ongoing conflict.


Historically, the people living along the Blue Nile – Benishangul-Gumuz borderlands in what is now Sudan and Ethiopia have been politically and socially marginalized within their respective political entities. As such they have sought ways to address this marginalization by undertaking a number of strategies. They have sought to mobilize and increase their communal solidarity and then lobby…


In Sudan, the revolutionary upsurge of 2018/2019 signalled the implosion of the country’s postcolonial political order. The political parties of old have seen their social bases wither away and their ideological hold over the Sudanese people corrode under the sustained pressure of a hyper-extractive political economy. The so-called ‘transitional period’ that followed the overthrow of President…