Exploring the peace dividend: Perceptions of armed conflict impacts on the Colombian private sectors

Based on a survey of 1,113 enterprises in six Colombian cities, this report presents the perceptions of costs suffered by domestic enterprises operating in a context of armed conflict.

The study assesses the direct as well as indirect economic effects of the armed conflict, for example the impacts of armed actors present in a company’s operating environment, company growth rates and community relations strategies. It reveals sectoral and geographic differences in how costs are spread among different types of enterprises, with some more vulnerable than others.

Effective peacebuilding requires the support and long-term commitment of a wide range of social actors, including the media and academics, citizens’ organisations, political and military leadership, as well as the private sector. Recent research has emphasised the importance and potential of the latter in peacebuilding processes. Experience from different contexts suggests that the higher the costs of violent conflict to business, the more inclined private sector actors will be to proactively support a transition to peace.

As a result, there have been an increasing number of studies in Colombia that attempt to document the economic costs of conflict at a macro-level. However, there have been no attempts as of yet to better understand businesses’ perceptions of the general and comparable costs at the micro level for individual companies. This study aims to fill this research gap presenting the perceptions of specific costs to domestic enterprises operating in the context of Colombia’s armed conflict. It also aims to bring out differences of conflict impacts by types of organisations, sectors and geographic location.