New Convergences in Poverty Reduction, Conflict, and State Fragility: What Business Should Know
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A common moral imperative to reduce human suffering in developing countries has helped to bring the international poverty reduction and conflict mitigation agendas together. But while research and practice are well established in the fields of poverty and conflict, the nexus between these two fields at the theoretical and practical levels is largely nascent. Lack of a shared body of knowledge has arguably impeded the ability of these communities to work together toward the overlapping goals of reducing poverty and conflict in countries affected by violence and instability. Business, as a key sector of the international community, could potentially make significant contributions to the joint agenda if it were better integrated in efforts to develop the nexus. This article surveys the current states-of-knowledge in the fields of poverty and conflict, including the increasing influence of the fragile states theory. It then discusses some of the major schools of thought helping to bring poverty reduction efforts into alliance with conflict mitigation efforts. The third section identifies important conceptual convergences and divergences between the fields and reconsiders the prominent assumption that economic opportunity can be a powerful incentive for peace and stability. Finally, this article discusses potential areas that could advance the nexus of poverty and conflict at both a theoretical and practical level.
Keywordsbusiness commerce conflict international development peace poverty state fragility
Bottom/base of the pyramid
Corporate social responsibility
Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration
Department for International Development (of the United Kingdom)
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
Human Development Index
Information communication technology
Internally displaced person
International Monetary Fund
Kimberly Process Certification Scheme
Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goal One
New Institutional Economics
Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
Peace through Commerce
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Sustainable Livelihoods Approach
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations High Commission for Refugee
United States Agency for International Development
World Food Programme
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