Foreign direct investment by western-based MNC’s in developing countries is argued to be both a potential source of conflict and an instrument to promote development and peace. Yet there has been very little analysis of the micro-level factors that determine whether an MNC is likely to have a positive or negative ipmapct on a conflict situation. A single case study provides the opportunity to investigate the context-specific interactions between an MNC and its host society, providing insight into the broader relationship between the MNC investment, development, and conflict. In examining how BP Amoco has responses to the armed conflict in Casanare, Colombia, this paper argues that MNCs can play a positive role in helping to minimize sources of conflict by implementing policies and practices designed to mitigate any conflict risks and maximize any developmental impacts linked to their operations. However, if MNCs are to become partners in promoting peace in developing countries, there must be incentives to encourage corporate decision-makers to participate more closely in conflict prevention initiatives. The paper puts forth a number of policy recommendations on ways to mainstream corporate conflict prevention.

Fuelling Conflict or Financing Peace and Development: Part 1