Oil, trade & state building in the Ethiopian-Somali borderlands

Hybrid event: register to attend webinar using link below.

The seminar discusses the entanglement between mining concessions and state building in the Ethiopia-British Somaliland borderlands. The presentation is focused on the decades of the 1940s and 1950s, when the Ogaden and the Haud were at the center of a confrontation between the overlapping late-colonial ambitions of the United Kingdom and the post-colonial national projects of Ethiopia and Somalia. Archival sources from Europe and Africa highlight how oil explorations by the American corporation Sinclair Oil Company favored the circulation of new technology and know-how in the realm of natural resource extraction, public governance, and road management. These material and immaterial resources, in turn, were appropriated and manipulated by the British Military Administration and the Ethiopian government for the purpose of enforcing control over the movement of people and goods across international borders, thereby supporting the emergence of alternative political projects and nodal points of economic accumulation.