Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States
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Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States

Edited by Graham K. Brown and Arnim Langer

The Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States brings together contributions from a multidisciplinary group of internationally renowned scholars on such important issues as the causes of violent conflicts and state fragility, the challenges of conflict resolution and mediation, and the obstacles to post-conflict reconstruction and durable peace-building.
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Chapter 27: Post-conflict recovery

John Ohiorhenuan


Countries emerging from violent conflict face extraordinary constraints mobilizing the human and financial resources that are urgently needed, first for humanitarian relief and subsequently for reconstruction and economic recovery. They are typically critically short of almost all types of expertise and yet have to deal simultaneously with several major challenges. They have to preserve the peace and safeguard security, reintegrate ex-combatants, resettle internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returning refugees, rehabilitate essential infrastructure and key public institutions, and restore private investors’ confidence. They must also revive the public finance regime and reassert control over key national assets. Finally, they must promote conditions that make the resumption of conflict less likely, including by generating employment opportunities, tackling horizontal inequalities and by re-establishing the rule of law. The post-conflict economy is not simply a ‘normal’ economy that happens to be in great distress. The massive destruction of assets, the disruption of social networks and the distortion of signals and incentives that generally constitute the legacy of violent confl ict indicate a long transition to normalcy. This transition or recovery process consists of a series of overlapping processes–like colours in a rainbow–requiring that the sequencing of economic and social policies be particularly creative. This chapter discusses the approaches, policies and partnerships that are required to consolidate peace and restart economic development in the aftermath of violent conflict. It highlights what actions national authorities should take and how the international community can be most helpful.

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