9.8 Necessary Condition: Employment Generation
9.8.1 What is employment generation? Why is it a necessary condition?

Creating jobs is a keystone of any economic recovery program. Many activities can fall under the rubric of job creation, including immediate short-term opportunities that yield quick impact, or the development of more enduring livelihoods in the civil service or private sector. It is important to distinguish between these different activities, recognizing that sustainability and long-term impact should be duly considered in implementing any employment generation program. Providing jobs is vital on many levels. Politically, employment opportunities give the population a stake in the peace process by providing young men and women with alternatives to violence. Economically, employment provides income to poor families, revives domestic demand for goods and services, and stimulates overall growth. Socially, employment can also promote social healing, encourage the return of displaced persons, and improve social welfare in the long run.

9.8.2 Guidance for Employment Generation

9.8.3 Approach: Quick Impact

Developing enduring livelihoods is vital for long-term peace and economic growth, but getting concrete results can take many years. In the emergency phases of economic recovery, the most immediate imperative is getting people back to work and getting money flowing, even if it the work is only temporary. The point of emergency phase economic recovery is to get labor and capital back to work quickly to show visible benefits of peace.600

9.8.4 Generate positive results by focusing on public works projects.601 Public works projects are effective ways to generate a lot of employment quickly while demonstrating progress that benefits communities. Job opportunities can include small-scale food- or cash-for-work projects, such as cleaning up public places, repairing roads and facilities, or installing generators. Be sure to consult with the host nation population on these efforts and to communicate to the population that this is a partnership effort between international actors and the host nation population.

9.8.5 Keep sustainability in mind, but avoid placing undue emphasis on it in the very early stages of recovery.602 Jobs that favor quick impact cannot substitute for long-term livelihood creation and should be viewed as much as possible through a lens of longterm sustainability.603 Any short-term job creation program should be established in parallel with sustainable employment programs. However, focusing too heavily on the sustainability of economic activities while ignoring short-term imperatives is a mistake. When implemented well, quick impact projects can be effective in employing large numbers of people in the immediate aftermath of violent conflict.

See Trade-off: Section 9.9.7, Meeting urgent needs for jobs vs. focusing on sustainable employment.

9.8.6 Recognize the potential impact of the international presence on economic distortions.604 One distortion often occurs in the domestic labor, housing, and retail markets in the early recovery phases. International actors often pay high salaries for expatriates, international civil servants, domestic translators, and drivers, while increasing the demand for local housing and services attuned to foreign tastes and salaries. This creates tough competition for the host nation government to attract skilled professionals for public service.605 The resulting disparity between the wealth of international actors and the economic hardships of the host nation population risks increasing friction, particularly between the country’s urban centers and the rest of the country. To mitigate these effects, international actors should determine appropriate wage rates for local staff, making them comparable to local government pay scales. Progressive income taxes are another way to reduce the attractiveness of working for the international community versus the host nation government.606

9.8.7 Approach: Agricultural Rehabilitation

In most societies emerging from conflict, the agricultural sector provides the primary source of employment. Rehabilitating the agricultural sector and enabling landowners to grow the right crops, process them, and get them to market are key steps in economic recovery. During violent conflict, many farmers will have reduced their production of export crops, while increasing subsistence production. Governments may sometimes resort to heavy taxes on agricultural exports to finance their military spending.

9.8.8 Provide broad assistance in rehabilitating the agricultural sector. While most of the focus will be in rural farming, sometimes rehabilitation will include food processing and distribution, which would also involve work in urban areas. Assistance providers should understand what crops and livestock are staples for local diets and cash crops, and also when the crop cycles are in order to design employment programs that do not disrupt planting or harvests.607 Public sector capacity is also necessary to regulate agricultural policy, including the establishment of a ministry of agriculture and development of farmers organizations. Immediate rehabilitation tasks should include the following:

  • Mine clearance of farmlands
  • Provision of seeds, tools and livestock
  • Repair of infrastructure, including processing and transport equipment, irrigation and drainage facilities, construction of water supplies, and improvement of roads and local market facilities
  • Development of trade relations to increase linkages among producers, processors, and markets
  • Improvement of access to credit
  • Provision of training in livestock management and crop productivity
  • Land reform.

9.8.9 Avoid disincentivizing local farming through relief operations. In responding to humanitarian emergencies, governments and relief organizations flood supplies of food into the country. This drives down local food prices by decreasing demand for locally produced food. Donor assessments should identify potential effects of relief operations to ensure that food aid does not adversely impact domestic agriculture or marketing.608

9.8.10 Approach: Livelihood Development

The development of sustainable livelihoods is critical to providing a predictable flow of income to families and build skills and capacity in the labor force. In these environments, most opportunities for long-term employment will be concentrated in the civil service, private sector, and agriculture.

9.8.11 Recruit capable, accountable individuals for a lean and effective civil service. Running government operations will require individuals with the capacity to contribute managerial, technical, and administrative talent. The civil service can be a strong source for new employment if sustained over the long term by adequate revenue generation. There will be pressures to rapidly recruit people for the civil service, but be careful not to create a bloated force.609 Place a premium on professionalism, accountability, political independence, and a public service ethos. There also may be pressure to introduce ex-combatants into the civil service as a long-term job, but doing so may jeopardize the integrity of the service if they support certain parties.610

9.8.12 Focus on agriculture, construction and service sectors, which will often provide the bulk of job opportunities.611 After violent conflict, the labor force typically lacks workers with advanced education, training, or marketable skills, which were lost through flight of professionals, injury, or death. Because of this, the agriculture, construction, and service (hotels, transport, logistics) sectors will be enormous draws for the labor market, as they do not require highly specialized skills, and demand for these industries will likely be high. Focus on these areas in the employment generation strategy to maximize the number of jobs for the population.

9.8.13 Pay special attention to women in micro-enterprise or vocational training.612 During violent conflict, many women may have become heads of large households. They will have acquired critical skills to adapt to food shortages and become micro-entrepreneurs in the informal economy. This reality is too often overlooked in livelihood development strategies. Women are left out of vocational training opportunities and face unequal access to credit, assets, and technologies, forcing them to find jobs in more traditional sectors with limited potential.613 Supporting women economically, however, can help promote the welfare of their children. Women in this respect are major catalysts for peace.