BBC Magazine | 5 January 2015
By Matthew Newsome
The construction of a huge dam in Ethiopia and the introduction of large-scale agricultural businesses has been controversial – finding out what local people think can be hard, but with the help of a bottle of rum nothing is impossible. After waiting several weeks for letters of permission from various Ethiopian ministries, I begin my road trip into the country’s southern lowlands.
I want to investigate the government’s controversial plan to take over vast swathes of ancestral land, home to around 100,000 indigenous pastoralists, and turn it into a major centre for commercial agriculture, where foreign agribusinesses and government plantations would raise cash crops such as sugar and palm oil. After driving 800km (497 miles) over two days through Ethiopia’s lush highlands I begin my descent into the lower Omo valley. Here, where palaeontologists have discovered some of the oldest human remains on earth, some ancient ways of life cling on. Continue reading the main story
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