Economic development and peace practice note series

Economic development covers a wide range of processes and interventions that aim to improve the functioning of an economy at a global, regional, national or local level. These interventions have multiple, often interconnecting, goals ranging from increasing economic growth or promoting equity to boosting entrepreneurship or employment, or tackling barriers to doing business.

In fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS), economic development has become part of the ‘toolbox’ for actors working in development and peacebuilding. Adapting economic development approaches and methodologies to the specificities of FCAS has generated considerable research and raised questions ranging from the role of the private sector in rebuilding the infrastructure of the state to how to increase human capital in post-conflict situations. These questions highlight some of the challenges of promoting economic development where the state is absent or has limited legitimacy, capacity or reach.

Initiating economic interventions and investments into a conflict-affected context can contribute to the processes of building peace as well as risk exacerbating conflict dynamics. Conflict and economic factors interact with and impact each other in both positive and negative ways. It is therefore critical for project designers, implementers and donors to understand how this happens in order to design, implement, monitor and evaluate economic development interventions that are relevant, effective and sustainable in their economic outcomes and in their contribution to peace.

What is the purpose of this practice note series?

This practice note series seeks to address the design, monitoring, evaluation and learning (DMEL) challenges for peace-conducive economic development interventions in FCAS. These are interventions that are conflict-sensitive and explicitly integrate a peace objective.

These practice notes are intended for project designers and implementers as well as policy-makers working in/on FCAS who wish to see peace impacts from economic development interventions or who want to integrate economic elements into peacebuilding projects. They are not intended as a step-by-step ‘how-to-guide’ but rather as a tool to spark greater analysis and critical engagement with the potential for more peace-conducive economic development in FCAS.

They consolidate key good practices – ‘what works well’ – based on emerging evidence and analysis of key gaps and challenges, from a peacebuilding perspective, observed among diverse economic development programmes in FCAS. The practice notes ground the considerations and good practices in case studies and examples from the Horn of Africa region, including Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

Download the practice notes