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Business engagement in violence prevention and peace-building: the case of Kenya


Conflict, Security & Development Journal abstract

Kenyan business was important in mitigating episodes of election violence in 2007–2008 and 2013. This article finds that this role was motivated by the ethical and moral commitments of key business leaders to further peace in times of violence; and by interests in preventing future economic loss. However, by adopting a lens that situates business roles in violence prevention and peace-building within Kenya’s conflict systems and political economy, the article finds a paradox: this lens confirms the Kenyan ‘success story’ with respect to specific violent episodes; but it also reveals a much more limited role for business in transforming the underlying sources of conflict; especially when these are congruent with key business fundamentals connected to land ownership, property rights, export-oriented production or services, or a ‘limited’ access order. Overall, the article highlights that business should leverage its comparative advantages within broader multi-stakeholder coalitions, especially in terms of its ability to influence political leaders, entry-points for informal dialogue to diffuse crises and capital to support peace-building initiatives.

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