Charcoal smoke repels insects.
Photo: Stéphanie Domptail
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Trade in natural resources between rural areas and the urban islands developing in them bears a huge conflict potential. In parallel to the traditional regulations on the use of natural resources, governments are intervening with privatisation and industrialisation in moves towards modern large-scale farming. Other conflicts arise through the shift from traditional techniques to quick wins as well as from social to individual benefiting. Our author depicts the push and pull relations of cities (and the world) to villages located in the Cubango-Okavango River Basin – a transboundary catchment area in Southern Africa.

The Cubango-Okavango River Basin (CORB) is shared by Angola, Namibia and Botswana. The Cubango-Okavango River has its source in the plateau of Huambo in Angola and flows across the borders between Angola, Namibia and Botswana to end in the world-famous inner delta of the Okavango. Listed as a World Heritage Site since 2014, the delta is one of the largest protected wetlands on Earth. About 600,000 people live in the CORB and derive their livelihoods primarily from natural resources, livestock and agriculture. According to the 2011 statistics, the population remains largely rural. Yet major cities in the river basin, such as Menongue (approx. 200,000 habitants) in Angola, Shakawe (approx. 6,700 habitants) in Botswana and especially Rundu, counting around 63,000 habitants and  the second largest city after Windhoek in Namibia, have been growing rapidly since 2010. Since the end of the civil war in 2002, Angola has been working on clearing mines and rebuilding its transportation in the Kuando Kubango Province, CORB.

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