From The Economist
The most striking common factor among war-prone countries is their poverty. Rich countries almost never suffer civil war, and middle-income countries rarely. But the poorest one-sixth of humanity endures four-fifths of the world's civil wars.
The best predictors of conflict are low average incomes, low growth, and a high dependence on exports of primary products such as oil or diamonds. The World Bank found that when income per person doubles, the risk of civil war halves, and that for each percentage point by which the growth rate rises, the risk of conflict falls by a point. An otherwise typical country whose exports of primary commodities account for 10% of GDP has an 11% chance of being at war. At 30% of GDP, the risk peaks at about one in three.
....Spending on health and education, by contrast, seems to provide an immediate boost to the economy of a newly peaceful nation. This is surprising. The benefits of social spending usually take years to show up in the growth figures. But in countries emerging from war, a new school or clinic shows that the government is serious about peace, which buoys confidence and may encourage private investment.
Copyright The Economist, May 22, 2003
The above paragraphs were taken from a longer article on civil wars in the world. It's a great argument for economic growth and development. Why isn't our foreign policy focused on that?