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Entrepreneurship and Conflict Reduction in the Post-Genocide Rwandan Coffee Industry

Tobias Mortlock, J. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-2563-2373 & Boudreaux, K. (2011). Entrepreneurship and Conflict Reduction in the Post-Genocide Rwandan Coffee Industry. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 24(2), pp. 217-242. doi: 10.1080/08276331.2011.10593535


Entrepreneurship is widely acknowledged as a catalyst for poverty reduction and economic development. Yet its role in conflict reduction and social development is largely understudied. This paper presents evidence from a field survey conducted among a sample of Rwanda's emerging specialty coffee farmers and workers at coffee washing stations. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that quantitatively analyses economic liberalization and conflict reduction in one of Rwanda's most pivotal industries, i.e., coffee, and one of the few studies addressing the link between entrepreneurship in the developing world and intergroup peace-building. We approximated conflict reduction with an attitude of reconciliation between ethnic groups in Rwanda. Results from statistical analyses uncovered significant correlations between economic and livelihood advancement with comparatively more positive attitudes to reconciliation, especially where intergroup contact has increased alongside new incentives for collaboration across group boundaries. This suggests that enhanced entrepreneurship in Rwanda's liberalized coffee industry may provide the context for increased commercial intergroup contact, which in turn may constitute an opportunity for conflict reduction. We conclude with suggestions for follow-up research, to further analyze which types of economic policy changes may also hold the potential to contribute to positive social change.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship on 9 Dec 2012, available online:
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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