An Inquiry into the Nature, Causes and Effects of Contraband: Case of Ethio-Somaliland Border Corridor

Habtamu Girma Wubeshet Gezahagn


Even if contraband is rampant in Ethiopian Somali region, little is researched over the topic so far. Basing its investigation on border areas between of Ethiopian and Somaliland, this study investigates the nature, causes and effects of smuggling. The study integrates both primary and secondary data. 75 smugglers, subjected through snowball sampling were considered to explore the causes and effects of contraband at an individual level. Descriptive and analytical tools, case studies, personal observations, were employed to make inferences out of the data and information gathered. The study found out that the prevailing contraband system has two dimensions: large scale and small scale smuggling, each with its own peculiar features. Our finding further reveals that economic hardships, unemployment and institutional problems were ranked in order by smugglers as major derivers to participate in smuggling business. Our analysis shows evidences of involving in contraband activities may have behavioral and psychological effects, which in turn implicates into the socio-economic life of smugglers, calling for even better and through understanding the on the issue. Practicing smuggling affects the labor market in many ways: by dragging people away from formal employments, smuggling decreases the force participation rate; it also affects the quality of labor force mainly by eroding the work ethics & discipline, creating tastes that can`t fit with formal employment, by imposing rent seeking mentality (making smugglers develop a culture of easy money).

Keywords: Contraband, Ethiopian Somali regional state, Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority

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