This theme focuses on conflict analysis, roles, and opportunities for both national and international business actors. It will analyse the role of such actors towards reducing the violence proneness of fragile environments and towards achieving sustainable development. Complementing existing research, it will concentrate on agro-commodities, public goods, and financial services.

Economic Actors in Violence-Prone Economies
Another focus is on the role of economic actors in violence-prone economies. The role of extractive industries in conflict zones has been a rather fashionable research topic in recent years. The main research findings have been concerned with causal relations between a country’s resource endowment and the likelihood of different types of armed conflict. Research so far has focused largely on mineral resources, oil, timber, and illicit narcotics. The role of agro-business in conflict zones rarely attracts attention. Besides the direct involvement of business actors – involved in direct extraction or production, but also services such as financing or insuring such activities – other economic factors contributing to conflict need to be considered. Economic decline (low or declining economic growth rates), poverty (low per capita income), and income disparities within societies are associated with the risk of civil war. Trade relations and access to world markets are also seen as influential factors.


Laurent Goetschel
Swiss Peace Foundation, Bern, Switzerland