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Economic Power-sharing


Economic Power-Sharing involves the distribution of resources and economic power between key groups or military actors. It can be seen how tensions over control of resources are resolved in peace negotiations.

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Economic inequalities are often at the heart of conflict. Addressing them can be important to ending violent conflict.

Proportion of power-sharing agreements that include economic power-sharing

Economic power-sharing is most often agreed in comprehensive agreements which attempt to provide an overall framework for resolution of the conflict.

Relative proportions of each agreement stage that have economic power-sharing provisions

Economic power-sharing emerging from peace negotiations and agreements has five main forms.


Important building

Political approaches to economic power-sharing, which share power over economic resources and decisions. These can involve specified places for non-state actors or ethnic groups in key ministries, public corporations or economic institutions (e.g. central banks).


Money with arrows radiating out in all directions

Territorial approaches to economic power-sharing, which involve forms of ‘fiscal federalism’ that go along with territorial power-sharing.


Oil extraction pump

Specific ‘wealth-sharing’ arrangements for natural resources connected to the conflict (diamonds, oil, or minerals).


Farm and building with ticket

Other forms of economic power-sharing can take the form of land reform, payment of salaries to demobilised combatants, joint distribution of reconstruction funds, and reparations.



Economic power-sharing arising because parties agree to share power over resources which cross the new borders created by the peace agreement, such as forests, or fisheries.


Recommendation 1

Peace process design should specifically address the relationship between economic resources and conflict.

Issues that must be considered include:

  • How have questions of distribution of wealth and inequality been connected to the conflict?
  • Whether there are significant natural resources at stake, which the parties are divided over addressing.
  • Whether either party has put economic power-sharing on the peace process agenda.
  • Whether the political or territorial power-sharing negotiations have direct implications for post-conflict management of natural resources.
  • Whether civil society is advocating for natural resources to be addressed as part of any resolution of the conflict." (Dawes, 2016).
Document with two gears which say Economic resources and Conflict Economic Resources Conflict

Recommendation 2

Political disputes over natural resources ideally should be approached as technical problems which can be resolved outside of talks.

Mediation support can help re-frame economic power-sharing debates in ways which help manage the tension between the political drivers of economic power-sharing design, and the need for functional and accountable economic institutions.

Two people with different jigsaw pieces

Recommendation 3

International supporters of peace processes should offer combined economic-conflict expertise.

Organisations involved in development assistance and peace promotion efforts, should have organisational capacity and modes of workings which:

  • Enable the creation of joint analysis teams of economic development and conflict advisors.
  • Ensure that those involved in diplomatic and mediation efforts have access to technical economic expertise for matters such as fiscal devolution.
  • Ensure that experts in economics and fiscal governance understand the ways in which other political imperatives relating to the causes of conflict will drive negotiations.
  • Understand that sometimes the 'best' economic governance arrangements have to give way to what measures the parties can agree to.
World globe with two arrows which say Economic expertise and Conflict expertise C o n f l i c t e x p e r t i s e E c o n o m i c e x p e r t i s e


See publications at:

In particular: Bell, C. (2018). Economic Power-sharing, Conflict Resolution and Development in Peace Negotiations and Agreements (No. PA-X Report, Power-Sharing Series). Edinburgh: Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

Dawes, M., 2016. Considerations for Determining when to Include Natural Resources in Peace Agreements Ending Internal Armed Conflicts. In Bruch, Muffett and Nichols (eds.). Post Conflict Peacebuilding and Natural Resource Management: Governance, Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. London: Earthscan, Routledge [online].