Revenues on the hoof: Livestock trade, taxation and state-making in the Somali territories

Ahmed Musa*, Finn Stepputat, Tobias Hagmann

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article considers the relationship between livestock taxation and local state formation dynamics in the northern Somali territories. While the economic importance of livestock in Somalia is undisputed, its significance as a source of revenue and legitimacy for public administrations and competing state-building projects has been overlooked. Drawing on fieldwork in Somaliland’s main livestock markets and the Berbera corridor, we highlight the interplay between public administrations that seek to maximize livestock revenue and traders who attempt to minimize taxation. State attempts to capture these ‘revenues on the hoof’ by both coercive and consensual means, shifting livestock trading routes and fluctuating animal trading volumes produce different taxation patterns across the Somali territories. As a result, fiscal contracts between livestock traders and public administrations are marked by various degrees of reciprocity and coercion.
TidsskriftJournal of Eastern African Studies
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)108-127
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2021


  • livstock trade
  • taxation
  • Somali territories
  • state formation
  • state building
  • Somaliland
  • Somalia
  • revenue bargaining

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