Powering Recovery: Reform, Reconstruction, and Renewables in Conflict-Affected States in the Arab World

An Arabic translation of this report is forthcoming.

The United States and other international donors have committed tens of billions of dollars to reconstruction and peacebuilding in conflict-affected environments in the Middle East, but there is frustratingly little to show for the effort in many states. After conflict stopped, those in power during wartime transitioned to privileged positions in peacetime, entrenching themselves and their interests in the new status quo. In the electricity sector, elites profit from infrastructure contracts, fuel imports, and informal systems of electricity provision.

In a new report, Will Todman argues that renewable energy offers a different pathway with wide-reaching benefits. Based on over 175 interviews with representatives from donor governments, UN officials, local actors, and private sector implementers, Will evaluates the promise of distributed renewable energy in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen and Lubna Yousef tackles Libya. Even in the most challenging environments, decentralized renewable systems can accelerate local economic development, advance environmental sustainability, and establish the foundations of better governance. 

Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program

This project was made possible by a donation from the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, D.C. The shape of this project, as well as the opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in its findings, are those of the authors and do not represent the view of the embassy or the government of Qatar, which did not review the project’s findings before publication.