Although donors have increasingly utilised development as a tool for conflict prevention (CP), there has been little systematic reflection on the specific contribution made by development interventions in this area. This report reviews current research on development and conflict prevention, with a particular focus on Nigeria. It also examines research that has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis of conflict prevention: a body of literature which, until recently, has received very little critical attention. CP strategies are rarely subjected to rigorous cost-benefit analysis, and those studies that claim to provide such analysis have been critiqued on methodological grounds.
Conflict prevention refers to approaches to avoid, minimise, and/or contain potential violent conflicts, and to prevent violent conflict from re-emerging. CP activities can be divided into two main categories: those actions that address root causes of conflict (structural prevention) and those that address proximate causes (direct prevention). Within these two categories, activities can address political, military, legal/ juridical and economic aspects. This report will focus mainly on structural interventions that address economic aspects of conflict (service provision, resource management, trade and assistance for development) as well as some of the political dimensions such as good governance.