Value Chain Development in Fragile States

Recent years have seen increasing attention for value chain development in fragile states. This has become an important strand of research within the IS Academy Human Security in Fragile States, with research into value chain development in Afghanistan, Uganda, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Linking Relief to Rehabilitation to Development

Since the mid-1990s the Linking Relief to Rehabilitation to Development agenda has been strongly promoted by humanitarian donors and agencies. One of the dimensions of LRRD is to seek ways to advance the normality of economic life as much as possible in crisis and post-crisis situations, for example through securing access to agricultural inputs or ensuring the continuation of local markets.

Pertinent Questions

IS Academy research on value chain development (VCD) deals with the following questions:

  • Value chain development is a complex process, under any condition. What are the lessons from value chain development in conditions of stable developing countries and what can we expect from VCD in fragile conditions?
  • (Post) conflict situations are often characterised by a state that is not highly functional and at the same time other actors that engage in governance and economic life, such as aid agencies, state contestants and religious or traditional bodies. What does this mean for value chain development and what is needed for an enabling environment for VCD? 
  • Existing literature often focuses on external interventions, and does not always look for or acknowledge local initiatives. How can value chain development build on the economic and governance practices already in place?
  • Can development organisations effectively support value chain development under fragile conditions, or should they leave this to humanitarian agencies? Or, conversely, can humanitarian agencies effectively support value chain development, or should they leave this to specialised development organizations?