April 2013


In this issue

In countries undergoing reconstruction, “Humanitarian goals are important; relief is important—but it’s the economic piece that matters,” as Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassadorat- Large for Global Women’s Issues, told Handshake editors. “You’ve got to start reconstruction by creating the mechanisms to have sustainable economic opportunity.”

But what to fix first? How to avoid “navigating by need,” as economist Paul Collier says, or by idealism? Which regulatory issues demand priority? Are there proven methods to ensure money is spent as its intended? By what process can offers of support be coordinated? Is it possible to avoid the relapse into violence?

For countries rebuilding after turmoil, there may always be more questions than answers. This issue of Handshake offers lessons from countries that have successfully coordinated the agendas of early relief, economic recovery and reconstruction, and longer-term development. Experts from international organizations, government, academe, and the World Bank Group talk about the importance of early investment in critical infrastructure and the growing role of public-private partnerships. Handshake authors and interviewees also consider the practical steps needed to create the right environment for investment and growth, the importance of donor coordination, job training, and education, and the role of women in creating the social contract between a state and its people.

We welcome your own answers to the difficult questions posed in the following issue.