Cross-Border Challenges of Semi-Nomadic Populations in the Borderlands of Sudan and South Sudan

Elad Zohar, Moran Zaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The establishment of the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011 created a new reality for the diverse nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes living along Sudan – South Sudan borderlands. Transitional dynamics that occurred in one country (often in the grips of civil war) had become international cross-border dynamics. The aim of this paper is to map, investigate, and analyze the effects of border-making and climate change on tribal practices in borderland regions. We focus on grazing and trade, two prominent cross-border interactions. The methodology includes a survey of various cross-border interactions and a theoretical discussion of border perceptions. It also utilized an empirical analysis, including interviews with local agents and questionnaires distributed to the South Sudanese students. The article illustrates how new barriers and restrictions in the Sudan – South Sudan borders changed the daily practices of borderland communities. Global climate change constitutes another geographic phenomenon that affects spatial interactions. We argue that the inconsistent regulations and governance in the borderlands create a hybrid system of continuity and change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-69
Number of pages18
JournalGeography Research Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Chaikin Chair for Geostrategy at the University of Haifa for supporting this research. The authors also thank the Small Arms Survey and Joshua Craze for their permission to use the maps, as well as the cartography of Jillian Luff (

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Ben Gurion University of the Negev. All rights reserved.


  • Border
  • Borderlands
  • Grazing
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Trade
  • Tribes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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