Evidence from a variety of conflict situations confirms that there is a lot to gain from deploying more conflict sensitive approaches when promoting economic development. Conflict sensitivity is relevant to governments, private sector and international agencies. It needs to be addressed at the very practical level, such as investing in conflict assessments or conflict impact studies, and start already when identifying and designing investments in conflict prone contexts.
There is also a lot to gain in combining pragmatically context-specific institutional reforms and shaping regulatory frameworks for the private sector with a range of bottom-up support approaches to help the social and economic fabric to grow. Stimulating cross-border trade and relationship building between business communities of different origin are other means to promote peace and economic development. There is also evidence that establishing effective business-government platforms for dialogue and advice can support peace and economic growth. Another measure might be the provision of small-scale and gender-sensitive loans to entrepreneurs.
At the international level, conflict sensitive programmes and information provision to increase the awareness of multilateral companies about how to invest in often resource-rich but governance-poor environments are much needed. This also goes for supporting continental policy discourses on fragility, such as the sessions on illicit financing flows held during the 2014 Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa and discussed in this issue.
See articles in our ECDPM GREAT Insights magazine on prosperity for peace (http://ecdpm.org/great-insights/prosperity-for-peace/) and if you have specific insights on how to promote youth employment in fragile countries, contact me now if you want to contribute to our GREAT Insights issue on this early next year.