This book focuses on how to achieve a broad-based recovery from a state of conflict in Africa. The chapter is organized around the issues facing national actors, specifically communities, the private sector, and the state. Broad-based recovery can help in securing peace, since it reduces grievances which are in turn major contributors to conflict. Grievances typically start to ferment when one or more socio-economic groups experience a fall in its standard of living in either absolute terms, or relative to another group. This introductory chapter outlines the ways in which conflict affects the decisions by national actors. The chapter also discusses the relationship between reform and reconstruction, and concludes that changing institutions and policies is a difficult but essential task.
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