It’s the economy, stupid
He helped create the British venture capital industry. Now Sir Ronald Cohen is looking to help solve one of the world’s most stubbornly intractable conflicts. One does not need to be a financial expert to appreciate that if it is possible to motivate people through lucrative incentives, then the impetus for conflict must decrease. It is also supremely logical that creating the conditions where peace is possible must be the task of civil society as much as of government. Amid the corrupt politics of the Middle East, the challenge remains to ensure that the funds provided by the Portland Trust are of direct benefit to the individuals they are intended to help. Yet unlike many so-called peace initiatives, Sir Ronald’s schemes — such as a microfinance loans of under £3,000 for small businesses — are bringing measurable results. This is conflict resolution and peace-making delivered in the cool, calm language of economics. It is to Sir Ronald’s credit that he is prepared to take the risks of intervening in the complexities of Middle Eastern politics in the hope of an ultimately far more valuable return. After all, that is how the most astute venture capitalists create the greatest of opportunities.