Social Capital Across Agro-Pastoral Assets in the Abyei Area With Reference to Amiet “Peace” Market

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The Abyei area, which straddles the border of the two Sudans, had been a theatre of war since 1965. In 2016, the Amiet market emerged from a remote forest grove to initiate a new kind of social contract making. It has quickly become a melting pot of various communities and created space for nurturing new relations but has also generated tensions that may threaten its own survival. As stakeholders negotiate a solution to the political dispute over Abyei, this article explains how agro-pastoral resources, including the market itself, factor in both conflict and cooperation. It cites evidence that social capital dynamics are changing along the lines of age and gender. It argues that these may present an opportunity for realigning interests amongst competitive communities, with Amiet market as a possible point of entry for policymakers. It concludes with recommendations for conflict transformation through commercialisation of the traditional agro-pastoral sector.

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Mitsuaki Furukawa

Professor, School of International Relations, University of Shizuoka.

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