June, 2009

The Role of Entrepreneurship in Conflict Reduction in the Post-Genocide Rwandan Coffee Industry

  • Karol Boudreaux

    Affiliated Scholar
  • Jutta Tobias

    James Marshall Public Policy Scholar, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
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Entrepreneurship is widely acknowledged as a catalyst for poverty reduction and economic development. Contemporary Rwanda is a country with a particularly violent recent history of group-based conflict. It is also a remarkable showcase for the expansion of post-conflict enterprise—the result of a series of economic reforms in the aftermath of its 1994 genocide. One particularly important reform is the successful deregulation of a main export sector: the coffee industry.

This paper presents evidence from a field survey conducted during the summer of 2008 among a sample of Rwanda's emerging specialty coffee workers and reports on significant correlations between economic satisfaction and life satisfaction, as well as meaningful work contact with members from the other group with an attitude of reconciliation. Results from statistical analyses uncovered significant correlations between economic advancement among coffee entrepreneurs, as well as general perceptions of life satisfaction, with comparatively more positive attitudes to reconciliation, especially as the new economic linkages in the Rwandan coffee sector have taken root over time and have become more entrenched in workers' rural communities.

Overall, a change in identity appeared to contribute to changed and improved intergroup attitudes among the sample studied in that those participants with a significantly more positive stance towards the other ethnic group in Rwanda tended to also have a particularly low sense of ethnic distance towards members from the other main ethnic group in Rwanda.

 

Citation (Chicago-Style)

Boudreaux, Karol and Jutta Tobias. "The Role of Entrepreneurship in Conflict Reduction in the Post-Genocide Rwandan Coffee Industry:
Quantitative Evidence from a Field study." Working Paper, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2009.