Entrepreneurship and Conflict Reduction in the Post-Genocide Rwandan Coffee Industry
Entrepreneurship is widely acknowledged as a catalyst for poverty reduction and economic development. Yet its role in conflict reduction and social development is largely understudied. This paper presents evidence from a field survey conducted among a sample of Rwanda's emerging specialty coffee farmers and workers at coffee washing stations. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that quantitatively analyses economic liberalization and conflict reduction in one of Rwanda's most pivotal industries, i.e., coffee, and one of the few studies addressing the link between entrepreneurship in the developing world and intergroup peace-building. We approximated conflict reduction with an attitude of reconciliation between ethnic groups in Rwanda. Results from statistical analyses uncovered significant correlations between economic and livelihood advancement with comparatively more positive attitudes to reconciliation, especially where intergroup contact has increased alongside new incentives for collaboration across group boundaries. This suggests that enhanced entrepreneurship in Rwanda's liberalized coffee industry may provide the context for increased commercial intergroup contact, which in turn may constitute an opportunity for conflict reduction. We conclude with suggestions for follow-up research, to further analyze which types of economic policy changes may also hold the potential to contribute to positive social change.