While the links between poverty and conflict are widely recognized, economic development interventions and peacebuilding interventions are often implemented separately. This results in missed opportunities to harness economic development to promote peace and to open the doors to development by reducing violence. To address this gap, Mercy Corps conducted a combined conflict and market assessment looking at the relationship between economic development and conflict in the Acholiland region of Uganda.
The assessment found that a number of economic factors drive land disputes, including limited economic opportunity and the failure of investors to engage with communities in a manner that is transparent and respectful of local values. Land disputes in turn discourage private sector investment and inhibit the productivity of small-scale farms. In line with the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on conflict, security, and development, the report recommends a two-pronged approach that simultaneously addresses land conflict and fosters market development through private sector investment.