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The Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic Dimensions of War and Peace

Michael Nest, with François Grignon and Emizet F. Kisangani
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic Dimensions of War and Peace
ISBN: 978-1-58826-233-2
2006/164 pages/LC: 2005029704
An International Peace Institute Occasional Paper

“A must read for political, economic, and sociological analysts / historians interested in the development of peace accords.”—Blanche Kabengele, International Journal on World Peace

"Grim—but necessary—reading for policy makers, academics, and professionals alike who work on the Congo-Kinshasa region."—Reuben Loffman, African Affairs

"A clearly written and accessible introduction to a range of important sociopolitical dynamics....  It should find a home in every library, academic or public, in North America."—Jeff Shantz, African Studies Review

"Offering the clearest explanations this reviewer has read in English, Nest reports on the political economy of Congo's wars of the 1990s and the early 21st century; Grignon discusses the economic agendas in the Congolese peace process; and Kisangani analyzes the legacies of the war economy.... Highly recommended."—Choice


Despite the prominent role that competition over natural resources has played in some of Africa's most intractable conflicts, little research has been devoted to what the economic dimensions of armed conflict mean for peace operations and efforts to reconstruct war-torn states. Redressing this gap, this volume analyzes the challenges that the war economy posed, and continues to pose, for policymakers and practitioners in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The authors first trace the historical role of natural resource exploitation in shaping economic development and governance in the country. Then turning to the 1998-2002 period, they assess how economic interests shaped both the peace process and the belligerents' attitudes toward resolution of the violent conflict that wracked the DRC. In subsequent chapters, they address the impact of the war economy on postwar reconstruction and identify strategies for more effective approaches to resolving—and even preventing —economically driven civil wars.


Michael Nest consults on the political and social issues related to the extraction of natural resources. Emizet F. Kisangani is associate professor of political science at Kansas State University. François Grignon is head of the UN Mission's Conflict and Prevention Unit in the DRC.


  • Foreword—T. Rod-Larsen.
  • Introduction.
  • Background to the Conflict.
  • The Political Economy of the Congo War.
  • Economic Agendas in the Congolese Peace Process—F. Grignon.
  • Legacies of the War Economy: Challenges for Postconflict Reconstruction —E.F Kisangani.
  • Conclusion.