An Unequal Recovery, 1893–1913
The process of recovering from the devastation of the 1880s and early 1890s took place as British, French, Italian, and Ethiopian officials were dividing the ARSL between their respective empires. Though these officials were eager to establish and delineate the new colonial borders, they were not interested in effectively administering their newly claimed territory. Instead, colonial officials created systems of indirect rule modeled upon the previous Egyptian administration. Traditional pastoralist leaders and Islamic religious elites were given salaries and made into agents of the various colonial states. This exogenous source of wealth and privilege allowed traditional pastoralist leaders and Islamic religious elites to guide the process of reconstructing their destroyed communities. They leveraged their relation to the state to create exploitative, hierarchical communal structures based on non-reciprocal relations of dependence. Without a social safety net, non-elites had no protection from structural poverty.