Conflict and post-conflict countries traumatized by years of instability are not commonly thought of as a source for entrepreneurial talent. Nonetheless, even under the most difficult circumstances, incredible entrepreneurial and innovative talent can and does surface.
According to the World Bank’s Fragile and Conflict Situations unit, one in four people in the world – more than 1.5 billion – live in fragile and conflict-affected situations. These are countries that are often rife with socio-political instability and large-scale organized crime, resulting in precarious security situations. Although there are consistent efforts from international organizations and NGOs to aid in their transition, as the 2011 World Development Report states, insecurity is one of the biggest developmental challenges of our time. It severely affects a country’s overall economic growth.
Yet even under these circumstances, grassroots entrepreneurship can be a way for people to impact their communities while also promoting economic growth. Still, many in the development community question why entrepreneurship thrives in some places rather than others.
At infoDev, we believe that great ideas can be born anywhere. That philosophy is supported by our recent feasibility study that aimed to gauge the mobile applications sector in Afghanistan and provide recommendations for growth.
Cases like these begin to answer the question posed earlier: why entrepreneurship thrives in some environments versus others. In the future, however, perhaps we should strive to better understand the conditions that foster entrepreneurship and its growth in fragile, less secure environments.