Will Syria break apart along sectarian lines? What are the origins of the conflict? What are the pros and cons of a US-led intervention? How is the war impacting individual lives? These were among the questions of a panel debate on the Syrian civil crisis at Maastricht University in October 2013.
Some birds fly south for winter, driven by the need for warmth and food in milder climates. They face neither physical borders nor restrictions on their movement. The situation for most of humanity, however, is much less straightforward — not least on the fringes of Europe.
The Western Balkans sits on a fault line of ethnic and religious tensions. The histories of Albania and Serbia among others are deeply marked by wars — wars that have sparked waves of migration over the centuries. Yet nowadays migration in and from the region is driven less by political unrest than by mass unemployment, linked in part to the Eurozone crisis.
The World Bank’s World Development Report 2014 will focus on ‘Managing Risk for Development’. As the Bank frames it in a concept note, “responsible and efficient risk management is crucial not only to reduce the negative impacts of shocks and hazards but also to enable individuals, households, and entrepreneurs to pursue new opportunities for growth and prosperity”.
The recognition of entrepreneurs as a category of agents, whose decisions are influenced by shocks and hazards, is part of a growing recognition of the role, both positive and negative, of entrepreneurs in development – see for instance my 2010 overview paper in the Small Business Economics Journal. One particular risk that entrepreneurs face in most fragile states is that of violent conflict. How can entrepreneurs manage the risk and impacts of violent conflict?