Value Chain Tools for Market-Integrated Relief: Haiti’s Construction Sector Guided Case Studies in Value Chain Development for Conflict-Affected Environments

This case study documents the use of the value chain approach to channel infrastructure program design from a direct implementation approach toward longer-term, market-integrated relief in Haiti’s most conflict-prone cities. Worldwide, donor-funded infrastructure and housing programs focus primarily on completing projects without examining how they might work through markets and private-sector actors, which risks undermining local businesses and slowing economic recovery. In many cases, the donor emphasis on immediate physical deliverables can mean that only a small number of the highest-performing local firms and/or outside firms are eligible to participate in subcontracts. This overlooks an enormous opportunity to promote broad-based growth among a larger pool of local private-sector actors. In conflict-affected areas, this exclusion of a whole range of actors in the construction sector— typically one of the largest and most robust sectors in post-conflict economies in terms of revenue and employment— may effectively forego an opportunity to contribute to economic recovery and conflict mitigation. At worst, this exclusion can contribute to instability. The CHF International hypothesis is that the value chain approach is an effective tool for integrating these larger market considerations into a donor-funded infrastructure program. Moreover, this lens to program design enables the completion of program targets while building sector competitiveness and setting the stage for longer-term, broader-based economic growth.

This study recognizes the challenges many practitioners face in the emerging field of market-integrated relief, namely that few tools are available to analyze value chains and markets in conflict and other crisis environments where data collection, analysis and sustainable program design must occur relatively quickly. The study also tests a second hypothesis: that the value chain approach can be adapted to conflict and post conflict environments to a) identify and incorporate into the analysis and program design information on conflict drivers that implementers can use to both do no harm in these environments and possibly contribute to conflict mitigation and b) meet the analysis and program design information requirements, while also meeting the need for prompt analysis to facilitate a rapid programmatic response.

To test these two hypotheses, CHF International led a value chain analysis of the construction sector, working within an infrastructure program operating in five conflict-affected cities of Haiti. The case study analyzes how the resulting program design does or does not provide a strategy that meets its stated goals of mitigating conflict, building a public asset base and creating jobs, while contributing to inclusive growth and increased competitiveness in the construction sector. The study also documents the research process, the resources used and the adaptations made to gather and analyze the types of information needed to determine how to conduct a rapid assessment and design in this environment.

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