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Partnerships in post-conflict environments

David Lawrence's picture



After a war or a disaster, we naturally think of the victims and survivors. But think, too, of those who have to put all the pieces back together again. Their task is immense, and the lives and well-being of thousands or millions depends on getting it right.
 
I saw such a process first-hand in Aceh, Indonesia, a region that suffered the unfortunate circumstances of being both a post-conflict and post-disaster region. A three-decade war had already taken 15,000 lives and left the province economically isolated when an earthquake and tsunami struck in December 2004. Entire communities were washed away. Infrastructure—roads, bridges, ports and more—lay in ruins. Schools, hospitals and government offices that remained were unable to function. Huge swaths of coastline, as well as the provincial capital, were covered in debris. Worst of all, over 200,000 were dead or missing, and survivors were left homeless and without food or water.
 
How do you begin to recover from such a catastrophe? Where do you even start?

Unfortunately, these questions come up often, mostly in post-conflict contexts where localized hotspots to full-scale wars have disrupted lives and economies all over the world. There is no shortage of examples: Iraq, Afghanistan, the devastating brutal civil war in Syria. The last 25 years have seen war in the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, Mali and throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
 
The answer to rebuilding infrastructure lies in partnerships that include not only the government and international agencies, but also the private sector.


Conflict and Poverty

Once the immediate needs of the population have been met comes the need to focus on rebuilding damaged infrastructure and economic development. This is especially important in post-conflict settings. The World Bank explains that “extreme poverty will be concentrated” in areas affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCS)” and about 17% of the world’s poor live in FCS countries—a percentage expected to rise to 46% by 2030. An article on reconstruction PPPs in Handshake (issue #9), IFC’s online PPP journal, says that “poverty is both a symptom and a cause of conflict” and that post-conflict countries can become trapped in “a vicious spiral of economic regression and further conflict.”
 
This relationship was recognized by the Indonesian government in post-disaster Aceh. Consequently, its reconstruction strategy included rebuilding infrastructure, economic development and the restoration of livelihoods. But Indonesia had an advantage many post-conflict countries do not—its national government and institutions were physically unaffected by the disaster, which meant it had the capacity and resources to respond decisively.


Partnerships Matter

Regardless of the severity of a conflict or disaster, governments working in partnership with international players stand a much better chance of developing and executing sound reconstruction strategies. International donors are an important part of this—they place a high priority on post-conflict and fragile states. Indonesia, for example, received nearly $7 billion for reconstruction after the tsunami. In Liberia, USAID’s support was critical for restoring electricity after the conflict. But they’re not the only players.
 
Paul Collier, the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University and an advisor to the IMF and World Bank, provides a solid description of what needs to be done in his TED Talk. He says security and economic prosperity are key factors in rebuilding post-conflict societies, and are achieved through providing jobs, improving basic services such as health, and through clean, transparent government. This is easier said than done, as governments in post-conflict situations are typically overwhelmed—they do not have the people, the skills, management experience or technical skills to rebuild infrastructure, health and education systems.
 
And these are areas where the private sector—and PPPs in particular—can play a very important role. But how can a post-conflict government attract reliable investors?


Creating a Good Investment Climate

The private sector is much more likely to make long-term investments in a stable environment. Therefore, to attract outside investors, governments in post-conflict countries need to create a positive investment climate emphasizing opportunity by improving regulations, tackling corruption and showing willingness to share risks. In Afghanistan, a country not known for stability, this approach helped kick off the telecommunications sector. As of 2012, five mobile phone operators (one government-owned) and 23 internet service providers were licensed, with about $1 billion invested by private companies.
 
Another way to provide greater comfort to investors in post-conflict markets is through political risk insurance. This provides protection in cases of political instability, war, social unrest, and other risks that are more common in fragile states. In the Ivory Coast, coverage through MIGA made it possible for a PPP to finance construction of a critical toll bridge after a decade of delays; in Haiti, coverage by OPIC is restoring food security by making investments in a flour mill that produced almost all the country’s flour.


What the Private Sector Can Bring to Post-Conflict States

A well-designed PPP can attract reliable, experienced investors for reconstruction projects and share risks among all stakeholders, including government and donors. Investment funds and expertise come with the package. But there are other benefits that should not be overlooked.
 
Transparency. Perceptions of corruption can undermine stability. PPPs bring in the private sector through transparent bidding processes and reduce opportunities for corruption.
 
Speed. PPPs add capacity in-country on all fronts, from financing to planning to resolution of regulatory barriers. This leads to faster results. The quicker the public sees government delivering public services, the greater its credibility.
 
Jobs. Reconstruction, by definition, involves a lot of building—roads, bridges, ports, water, sanitation, waste management and more. This provides opportunities for work, and as Paul Collier points out in his TED Talk, work keeps angry young men occupied and reduces the chances of conflict reoccurring.
 
Good management. Once health and education services are back online they need to be properly operated and maintained. Seasoned private sector companies have a good track record of effectively managing the provision of services.
 
Learn more about the role of the private sector in rebuilding post-conflict (and post-disaster) economies in Handshake: Reconstruction PPPs (issue #9).

 

Comments

The World Bank and donors set up the Multi Donor Fund for Aceh & Nias after the tsunami (see http://multidonorfund.org/). Similar funds were established for other disasters. In post-conflict countries, donors have supported PPPs, for example, to rebuild destroyed power generation and distribution infrastructure. You'll see examples in the edition of Handshake listed at the end of the post. Here is an example from Liberia: http://bit.ly/2ioiPgS.

Submitted by Timothy Asiedu on

This is a pathetic story. In fact rebuilding Indonesia will not be easy, but philanthropist and world bodies like World bank should be able to assist economically and socially. Also spiritually other organization like churches should assist. Thank you.

I'm sorry you didn't like the post, and gather that you don't see a role for the private sector in rebuilding after a conflict or natural disaster. But in fact, the private sector has a lot to offer: besides funding, it can bring expertise, management skills and technology to the table. PPPs are a mechanism for creating such partnerships effectively. You will find plenty of examples in the link at the bottom of the post. Regarding Aceh - happily, the reconstruction was highly successful. If you're interested please check out this book (with great photos): http://bit.ly/2jc6OMN.

Submitted by Daniel Lindblom on

The constant reliance on centralized utilities make the same mistake over and over. Decentralize power and water to family size units in areas of upheavel. some units always survive. power shifts to the family unit, not the big corps. move away from a master to a family empowerment. The shift will work. Haiti is a perfect example.

Submitted by Ekadashi Nandi on

The private sector has a lot to do in this regard. But the doners should not have vested interest while donating for such hazards.

Submitted by Mr. Mahafuzul Hoque on

Can World Bank provide Fund to the Poor & Destitute People Such as (We Called) the Street Children, who are miserable in life and who works as a Labor in his/her early stage of age here in my country? What are the rules & regulation that you have now to Approval such Fund giving by to a person who is very much wanted from you if I applied for directly to the World Bank? Because I want to help them in as financially as possible, but I do not have much money to help them at this moment, and I can't carry on this in individually as myself. What would be your answer if you find my Story is true and correct that I'm telling you now?

Thank You,

Mr.M. Hoque from Bangladesh.

Submitted by Eolanda on

great submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists
of this sector do not understand this. You should continue your writing.

I am confident, you have a great readers' base already!

Submitted by Grema Dunoma usman on

My country is facing hard time due to the insurgency in northern eastern nigeria , extream hunger , malnutrition, cold , sickness my people will really appreciate if your intervention will rich out to them # thank you

Submitted by Ifeyinwa on

PPP is inevitable in reconstruction of Post conflict environment. Private companies have all the necessary skills needed in the reconstruction process. It's always good to identity the root cause of the violence and tackle it before embacking on reconstruction process, this will eliminate the fear of process failure. PPP is a welcome development. In my country for instance, research has shown that the cause of recent violence was as a result of poverty, unemployment and lack of education. Some PPP is on going between some Universities and private companies to bridge some of the gaps identified.
To rebuild is not always as easy as to destroy, and it's also confusing to figure out where to start from due to the damage incurred. Taking care of humanitarian and social welfare, (The people) then reconstruction, in that order will help.

Submitted by Henri-Claude Enoumba on

Thank you very much for the interesting post.I just want to emphasize that PPP's mechanisms are not just going to fly towards post-conflict countries regardless how the conflict ends or the way the disaster had been managed at the end. I am totally event more 150% for What the Private Sector Can Bring to Post-Conflict States.But what happens with both the Libyan and the Central African republic cases. PP Partnership depends on this.So there is a need for an Post Conflict Environment and social Assessment Study or report to highlight priorities and scheduled the rebuilding scope !

Submitted by Henri-Claude Enoumba on

the Post-conflict environmental assessment (PCEA) study The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has undertaken in a number of countries since 1999 and also in Cote d'Ivoire . PCEAs in general describe the existing condition of the key environmental sectors that have been impacted by conflict. It is event pointed that PCEA's aim is to offer recommendations on how environmental challenges can be addressed in a manner that would contribute to sustainable development and minimize the potential for future conflict.So Please how much could cost this kind of study now for Central African republic ? And how could be the scope of its ToRs ? Those are pragmatics issues not only theoretical one!

Submitted by Daniel Lindblom on

None of this will ever stop the cycle of dependency. Decentralize utilities like power, water and watch the mortality drop. small is better, shift the focus. Make basic family unit the center of value not the power/water company.

Submitted by Grema Dunoma usman on

My country is facing a hard time due to the insurgency in northern eastern nigeria , extream hunger , malnutrition, cold , sickness my people will really appreciate if your intervention will rich out to them # thank you

Submitted by Dapo Oyedele on

PPP is one of the platforms to increase capital projects in Nigeria, but its not well tapped due to bureaucratic bottle neck. There are great potentials in the infrastructural market ,which PPP can explore for the betterment of the economy. Our company is currently involve in provision of hostel accomodstion for one of the federal universities.Our main challenge is the lack of long term fund in the Nigerian economy..

Submitted by James on

My country is now in a crisis, the long drought has coursed panic to the nation . livestock are dying people are now dying to in Kenya , what can be the best solution for this crisis?

Submitted by Milton Otara ODONG on

A very good submission on post-conflict reconstruction! However, whereas the idea and purpose of post-conflict reconstruction projects funded by the World Bank is good, most of such projects intended to address poverty related social and economic needs of the population that depend on natural resources base of the environment will in the near future be destined to fail. This is because the unprecedented destruction of the environment through deforestation for commercial charcoal production (in the private sector) will negatively affect and change the local weather and rainfall patterns, causing excessive draughts and / or floods and projects’ failure.
A case in point is northern Uganda region where World Bank is supporting Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, NUSAF phase III as part of a recovering program from nearly two decades war between government troops and rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA. My appeal through this platform to World Bank is for it emphasize on sound environmental protection and management practices and ensuring they are enforced as one of the conditions for accessing fund from the bank.
Otherwise the intended good purpose of ending poverty in all its forms and ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture in post-conflict northern Uganda will never be achieved, driving more people into poverty, hunger and ultimately degenerating into conflicts, despite the substantial injection of fund into the region by the World Bank. What a waste of resources will this be if not checked?

Submitted by Milton Otara ODONG on

Enforce on Environmental Protection

A very good submission on post-conflict reconstruction! However, whereas the idea and purpose of post-conflict reconstruction projects funded by the World Bank is good, most of such projects intended to address poverty related social and economic needs of the population that depend on natural resources base of the environment will in the near future be destined to fail. This is because the unprecedented destruction of the environment through deforestation for commercial charcoal production (in the private sector) will negatively affect and change the local weather and rainfall patterns, causing excessive draughts and / or floods and projects’ failure.
A case in point is northern Uganda region where World Bank is supporting Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, NUSAF phase III as part of a recovering program from nearly two decades war between government troops and rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA. My appeal through this platform to World Bank is for it emphasize on sound environmental protection and management practices and ensuring they are enforced as one of the conditions for accessing fund from the bank.
Otherwise the intended good purpose of ending poverty in all its forms and ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture in post-conflict northern Uganda will never be achieved, driving more people into poverty, hunger and ultimately degenerating into conflicts, despite the substantial injection of fund into the region by the World Bank. What a waste of resources will this be if not checked?

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