Brokerage in the borderlands: the political economy of livestock intermediaries in northern Kenya

Ong'ao P Ng'asike*, Tobias Hagmann, Oliver Wasonga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article argues that brokers are key actors in the cross-border livestock trade between Kenya and Somalia, where formal regulations are weak or absent. We elucidate the economic and social rationales for livestock brokerage as well as a series of brokering practices taking place at the intersection of profit
making, kinship and trust. Besides producing social capital based on trust, brokers facilitate the formalization of livestock trading by linking livestock production sites in southern Somalia to consumer markets in Kenya. Brokers thereby take on various roles and functions that contribute to integrating markets across fragmented territories. Based on extended fieldwork conducted in and around Garissa livestock market as well as in Nairobi, the paper outlines the political economy of livestock intermediaries in the important Somali-Kenyan cross-border livestock trade.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Eastern African Studies on 16 Nov 2020, available online:”


  • brokerage
  • livestock
  • informal economy
  • borderlands
  • Kenya
  • Brokers
  • Kenyal Somalia
  • livestock trade

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