Post-conflict reconstruction in the MENA region takes place in a context characterized by the resilience of authoritarian governments, which rely on a combination of state coercion, predation and the selective distribution of economic resources to exercise authority and control. At the same time, most of these governments lack the resources to rebuild their countries and are dependent on international sources of private investment and international aid. Therefore, the international aid community and business actors need to better understand the implications of current dynamics and attempts by autocratic regimes aim to control or manipulate post-conflict realities. What are the implications of these dynamics for international efforts to invest in the reconstruction and future development of those countries?
The conference aims to contribute to the academic and policy debates over new approaches to peacebuilding and reconstruction as well as on the specific role of aid providers and the private sector in these endeavors. Its objectives are to 1) analyze the strategies and mechanisms through which autocratic regimes manipulate private investment in the context of post-conflict reconstruction processes, 2) to better understand the obstacles encountered by private investors and international aid providers when participating in reconstruction efforts, and potential responses and solutions to them, and to 3) to study the implications for private investors and international aid providers in these environments, with a specific focus on the tensions between pragmatic and value-based forms of engagement.