Social-economic vulnerability to resettlement : a case of land acquisition for petroleum development activities in the Albertine region in western Uganda
The extractive industries can boost a country’s economic growth and standards of living but also increase the social-economic vulnerability of communities where the resource is located. Uganda is among African countries where commercially viable quantities of oil and gas were discovered and are transforming from the exploration phase to the development phase in preparation for oil production. This has led to large-scale land acquisition for infrastructural development to support the exploration, production, and development activities of the oil and gas value chain. This study assessed social-economic vulnerability to resettlement due to land acquisition for petroleum development activities in Hoima, Uganda. The Government of Uganda compulsorily acquired land from the local communities in Kabaale parish, Hoima district, Western Uganda to establish an oil refinery and other infrastructure that will support the nascent oil and gas industry in Hoima district. The resultant effects on the social-economic vulnerability of this project have not been systematically studied. The overall objective of the study was to investigate how resettlement due to land acquisition for petroleum development activities has influenced social-economic vulnerability in the Albertine region in Uganda. The specific objectives of the study were to; i) assess the consequences of resettlement on assets and outcomes on oil refinery project affected households in Kabaale Parish, Buseruka subcounty, Hoima district. ii) determine the vulnerability of different socio-categories of oil refinery project affected households in Kabaale Parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district. iii) assess the capacity of oil refinery project affected households to adapt to resettlement conditions in Kabaale Parish, Buseruka Sub-County, Hoima district. Household survey of 187 households, Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant and informal interviews following exploratory, descriptive and interpretive research designs were employed to elicit the necessary data. Quantitative data was analyzed through various statistical methods including descriptive statistics, linear regression, Wallis Kruskal Test, Principle component analysis, one-way ANOVA and post hoc tests. Results indicated that displaced households were exposed to several serious negative consequences such as landlessness, joblessness, food insecurity, health insecurity leading to impoverishments and higher levels of vulnerability. Loss of land was the most impoverishing consequences reported by 83% of respondents. There were changes in land tenure system and compensation for land was unfair as land prices became higher than before the resettlement. The cash compensated and host community households were more exposed and vulnerable to the risks of resettlement than formally resettled households. The host community and cash compensated households had a generally higher sensitivity. Household monthly income, formal education levels of the household head, and the size of the household were significant factors in influencing the vulnerability of resettled households. The overall adaptive capacity was low although varying among the resettled households; host community, cash compensated, and formally resettled households. Involvement in different income-generating activities and access to the nearest road networks were the most considered factors to have influenced the adaptive capacity of the project-affected persons. The access to and the amount of key assets and activities varied significantly among households. The livelihood outcomes of resettled households generally decreased by 50% after the resettlement, mainly due to a drop in access to productive assets and in particular land access that dropped by 60%. A policy that promotes equity in compulsory land acquisition and resettlement ought to be formulated with a focus on reducing impoverishment and socio-economic vulnerability while improving adaptive capacity of project affected persons.