Working Paper
Reconstruction from War in Africa

Communities, Entrepreneurs, and States

Africa has become synonymous with conflict. There were armed conflicts in 16 of Africa's 54 countries in 1999. For Africa to recover, communities must reconstruct, private sectors must revitalize, and states must transform themselves. Aid donors, NGOs, and international business can do much to help (or hinder). However, the movement from conflict to reconstruction and then to sustained development largely depends on three national actors. Thus, unless communities rebuild and strengthen their livelihoods, neither reconstruction nor growth will be poverty reducing. But communities cannot prosper unless private investment recreates markets and generates more employment. And neither communities nor entrepreneurs can realize their potential without a development state–one that is democratically accountable and dedicated to poverty-reducing development. The international community can do much to assist–through more aid, debt relief, and peacekeeping–but ultimately the future lies in the hands of Africans themselves.