To better understand the impact of the political economy of checkpoints in Somalia, 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 contextualised through interviews with key stakeholders and systematic review of earlier findings. The checkpoints are further situated in their historical context through detailed analysis of historical data.

The report delves into the significant interconnections between checkpoints, cross-border commerce and state formation in south-central Somalia, focusing in particular on two case studies. The first is the Baidoa corridor, a trade route linking the capital city, Mogadishu, with Kenya and Ethiopia. The second is the Garissa corridor, a trade route that connects the harbour city of Kismayo with the grazing lands of Afmadow and north-eastern Kenya. Both case studies illuminate the broader context of competition over the revenues that accrue from cross-border trade in the Horn of Africa.

This research report was originally published on the Rift Valley Institute website.