Why peace and security are essential enablers of development

No country can develop or grow economically without peaceful coexistence among its population, and within its borders.

Peace and security is an essential factor of human life. A peaceful and secure environment is critical to every society since it affects all aspects of economic and social development in a country, and is a necessary sin-qua non to the realization of human rights. These have direct effects on the creation of sound, competitive and equitable economic development, which ultimately has positive impact on the whole society. We should also remember that the world we live in has become increasingly more complex, with new security challenges developing not just on a daily basis but every other minute—counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, multilateral peace-keeping reconstruction operations, just to mention but a few.

No country can develop or grow economically without peaceful coexistence among its population, and within its borders. The fastest developing nations are among those with the best security structures or architecture, and having peace and tranquility thriving within them.

Taking the case of Rwanda, our country has recorded enormous development and viable economic progress over the last two decades. One key attribution to this positive move is the fact that Rwanda is among the few secure and peaceful states in Africa. This has propelled national production, trade, and investments in all sectors of the economy.

In addition, Rwanda has stood to be one of the best places for ease of doing business according to the World Bank rankings. Indicators used to arrive at such data may often include safety of people, protection of investments among others, all of which are premised on the level of security and peace a country has. 

However, building peace and adequate security involves a wide range of efforts by diverse actors in government and civil society at the community, national, international levels to address the root causes of violence and ensure that people have freedom from fear of humiliation, war and conflicts.  For instance, Good governance and rule of law are essential prerequisites to ensure that resources and services are made equally available to people, guarantee to freedom from fear and violence, and emphasis on respect for rule of law as a cornerstone to sustainable development.

Meanwhile, peace implies much more than just the absence of physical violence. While often the search for peace is seen as an end to armed conflict or the enforcement of stability, for many peace-builders the absence of physical violence is only the shallow beginning of a much longer-term peace building, a process that must be inextricably intertwined with the context of global space.

Thus, peace and development are in a fundamental sense related to processes of globalisation and global social development. Of particular interest for peace and development is also how local communities are affected by global change and how local actors navigate in a global system, in relation to peace, conflict, security and development.

This means that addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict is a long-term and complex task. Conflicts have multiple drivers, operate as systems, are often local and do not stop at state borders.  Therefore, responses to peacebuilding require the influence, resources and commitment of states, institutions and at different levels.

As I have already acknowledged, peace and security, sustainable economic growth and development and the rule of law are essential to the progress and prosperity of all. Every government must be committed to an effective multilateral system based on inclusiveness, equity, justice and regional cooperation as the best foundation for achieving consensus and progress on major security challenges.

Leaders should become more aware of the need to integrate security and development programmes in their policy interventions. Strengthening alliance with the local community is important to integrate security and peace building processes collectively. For example fostering responsible and transparent approach in dealing with natural resources, and actions taken in the event of misuse and illegal acquisition of public resources often culminate into protests and further escalates into instability. This must be addressed at local levels. 

Finally, approaches for attaining peace and security for national development must have both external and internal collaborations. With this, there will be an enabling environment for businesses, investments, social services and overall economic development of a nation. 

The views expressed in this article are of the author.