Despite the prominent role that competition over natural resources has played in some of Africa's most intractable conflicts, little research has been devoted to what the economic dimensions of armed conflict mean for peace operations and efforts to reconstruct war-torn states. Redressing this gap, this volume analyzes the operational challenges that the war economy posed, and continues to pose, for policymakers and practitioners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The authors first trace the historical role of natural resource exploitation in shaping economic development and governance in Zaire (now the DRC). Then turning to the 1998-2002 period, they assess how economic interests shaped both the peace process and the belligerents' attitudes toward resolution of the violent conflict that wracked the country. In subsequent chapters, they address the impact of the war economy on postwar reconstruction and identify strategies for more effective approaches to resolving - and even preventing - economically driven civil wars.
Karen Ballentine, senior associate at the International Peace Academy, directs the IPA's Economic Agenda's in Civil Wars Program. Her recent publications include The Political Economy of Armed Conflict: Beyond Greed and Grievance. Michael Nest is a consultant, focusing on political and social issues related to the extraction of natural resources.
Introduction - the Editors. The Political Economy of the Congo Conflict - M. Nest. Legacies of the War Economy: Challenges for Peacemaking - F. Grignon. Legacies of the War Economy: Challenges for Postconflict Reconstruction - K. Emizet. Resources and Conflict: Lessons for African Actors - M. Baregu. Conclusion - the Editors.