International companies and post-conflict reconstruction: Cross-sectoral comparisons

The role of international companies in post-conflict reconstruction is an essential complement to the work of international aid agencies. But if policy-makers are to secure the maximum benefits from private investment, they need to understand how different companies and sectors view opportunity and risk, and find ways to assess their overall impact in post-conflict settings.

In development circles, the debate about the role of business in conflict-affected regions has tended to focus on natural resources, particularly petroleum and mining. This paper begins with a review of the extractive industries, but then broadens the discussion to the impact of three other commercial sectors: mobile phones, construction and engineering, and commercial banks. It cites examples from Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste.