Synthesising a wide range of literature, building on eight case studies across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, this study argues that support to value chains in fragile and conflict-affected settings is feasible, and it identifies room for constructive engagement especially at the local and regional levels.
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The IS Academy ‘human security in fragile states’ has sought to understand socio-economic recovery in fragile settings at the intersection of people's strategies to rebuild their lives, institutional change and aid interventions. We have been particularly concerned with how economic life is affected by conditions of conflict and fragility: How do people continue to produce, process and trade under conditions of insecurity and institutional fragility? What happens to markets? And how can aid strengthen private sector development as part of post-conflict reconstruction?
Value chain development provides an excellent window on these issues. Sabine Hiller, Dorothea Hilhorst and Bart Weijs convincingly show how economic life in fragile and conflict-affected settings does not come to a complete stand-still, even though insecurity, reduction of the formal sector, and in some cases a breakdown of trust affect the chains and may compromise their development. As soon as conditions minimally allow, people resume their production and marketing activities, building on a range of formal and informal institutions at different levels. The study argues that support to value chains in fragile and conflict-affected settings is feasible and identifies room for constructive engagement especially at the local and regional levels.
The IS Academy has been committed to generating knowledge that both advances scholarly understanding and feeds into policy concerns. This report is a good example of that. It synthesizes a wide range of literature, building on eight case studies across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and makes this available to a broad readership. To readers interested in economic development in fragile settings it affords novel insights on economic life and the resilience of economic activity. Readers whose prime interest is in value chains, will learn about the specific conditions that affect value chain development in fragile and conflict-ridden settings. To both, it suggests ways forward in supporting value chain development in insecure environments.