Dubai, United Arab Emirates — A new study on how post-conflict trade opportunities can be developed by emerging countries was published on the concluding day of the World Government Summit attended by thousands of government and business leaders.
“Post-Conflict Trade: Case studies and lessons for Ethiopia and Eritrea” was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit after being commissioned to conduct the research by global trade enabler DP World. Identifying sensible opportunities for moving up the value chain; being wary of white elephant infrastructure projects; focusing on incremental infrastructure projects and creating an enabling environment for public private partnerships to take root were key conclusions.
Case studies on Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Columbia with insights into how each has tackled their development during times of peace form the backbone of the study with lessons for other nations such as Ethiopia and Eritrea following recent peace accords also underlined.
Rwanda’s development of existing industries such as specialty coffee; Sri Lanka’s efforts to position itself in niche links in global supply chains and Columbia’s moves to increase foreign investment, promote more PPPs and ensure transparency in government regulations and governance are outlined.
DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said: “Developing nations need a solid foundation on which to place the building blocks of their economies. Both soft and hard infrastructure is needed, which will determine how quickly physical assets are built and how quickly trade develops.
“Our experience in 40 locations around the world shows no one size fits all but we can all learn from history to plan the present and the future with our partners for the benefit of those that come after us. Africa, for example, has shown strong growth over the last 10 years with steps to diversification. If nations were better connected market sizes would increase and encourage greater foreign investment.”
“We also know that PPPs are an increasingly popular model to fund projects and the regulatory frameworks supporting them are improving. But good governance is key and the conditions for companies and investors must be backed by firm trust and agreement to observe international law if these agreements are to work. Failure to observe these practices results in a reputational damage to developing nations and can scare investors away from projects that are sorely needed.”
Chris Clague, Managing Editor of Thought Leadership at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “One of the key determinants of lasting peace in post-conflict countries is their economic performance. Increasing trade is one way of improving it.
“Many of these nations were at low levels of development when the conflicts began and dependent on primary commodity exports for growth. While moving up the value chain can be difficult, focusing on available resource endowments, such as coffee in the case of Rwanda, making a major commitment to creating a climate conducive to foreign investment, and promoting public-private partnerships, as in in Columbia, are other potential paths for post-conflict countries.”