How Selling Online Helps Small Businesses in the Developing World Break into Export Markets

From the report on page 14. It shows that in 2014, eBay was the primarily an export platform for the eBay-enabled SMEs in Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Thailand

From the report on page 14. It shows that in 2014, eBay was the primarily an export platform for the eBay-enabled SMEs in Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Thailand

Can e-commerce markets help create a more inclusive global economy where small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries can export their products overseas without facing major obstacles? According to a recent report published by eBay Public Policy Lab, Small Online Business Growth Report: Towards an Inclusive Global Economy, the answer is yes.

As the World Economic Forum notes, internet-based commerce sites have a positive impact for SMEs around the world because they open up new export opportunities, facilitate access to low-cost imported inputs, and e-commerce marketplaces make it easier to globally sell and source goods by reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, such as access to information.

The eBay report looked at its own data to examine if these arguments were true. The datasets of transactions from small online business (sellers with sales of more than USD $10,000 on eBay marketplace) from 2010 to 2014 in 18 countries, including emerging markets like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

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Storytelling: A Tool for Changemakers in Civil Societies Around the Globe

Storymakers Twitterchat 2016

Join us for the #Storymakers2016 Twitter chat on May 4

On May 4, CIPE is partnering with Democracy International and Devex for TechSoup’s 24-hour, around-the-world #Storymakers2016 Twitter chat. We’ll dig into how civil societies are using traditional and emerging storytelling tools to empower individuals and shift democracy, governance and human rights conversations around the globe.

Join us for this one-hour live Twitter chat on May 4, 2016 at 4:00pm EST, 10:00 pm Johannesburg time.

#Storymakers2016 Twitter Chat: Storytelling: a tool for change makers in civil societies around the globe

Curious about this topic? Tune in by following along at #Storymakers2016 to hear from global development leaders and civil society experts to discuss these questions:

  • What is working in #DemocracyRightsGovernance #communications + #storytelling? How are int’l orgs supporting #HumanRights advocacy + #CivilSociety?
  • What is not working when #GlobalDev orgs try and support #CivilSociety or #HumanRights activists in developing countries or repressive regimes?
  • What risks do activists and #CivilSociety organizations face when they utilize storytelling and other #comms tools?
  • Can storytelling and #communications counter the trajectory of countries with closing democratic space, turbulent politics, or even conflict?
  • How can int’l orgs, NGOs, CSOs, and activists overcome these challenges and improve #GlobalDev outcomes through better #storytelling?

Participants will include:

  • CIPE — The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.
  • Democracy International — Democracy International (DI) promotes democracy, human rights, good governance, peace, and international development around the world.
  • Devex — Devex is the media platform for the global development community. We connect & inform 700,000+ dev professionals worldwide.

Follow the organizations on social media:

Twitter:  @CIPEGlobal, @DemocracyIntl, @Devex, @TechSoup
Facebook: Center for International Private Enterprise, Democracy International, Devex

Kenneth Arrow: Directions of Research in the Coasean Tradition

Marginal Revolution blogger and George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen moderates a panel on the future of economic research, featuring Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Marginal Revolution blogger and George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen moderates a panel on the future of economic research, featuring Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Last year, CIPE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Ronald Coase Institute to host a conference that celebrated the legacy of Ronald Coase and review research inspired by his work. Ronald Coase is perhaps best known for his explanation of the importance of transaction costs, property rights, and institutions to the functioning of an economy. A primary thought leader for new institutional economics, he received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991.

To recognize the anniversary of the conference, “The Next Generation of Discovery: Research and Policy Change Inspired by Ronald Coase,” CIPE focused this month’s Economic Reform Feature Service article on remarks given by Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics Emeritus at Stanford University Kenneth Arrow.

To quote Arrow in his opening remarks, Ronald Coase’s work was “provocative, so undriven by fads.” In taking his own independent course, Coase challenged assumptions and norms, and left behind a wealth of insights that continue to influence today’s economic research agenda in a range of fields.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #13: WEConnect International’s Elizabeth Vazquez on the One Thing Women Entrepreneurs All Over the World Want the Most

vasquez

Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with Elizabeth Vasquez (center)

President, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International Elizabeth A. Vazquez discusses the biggest challenges that women around the world face when trying to start and grow a business, and the one thing that they all want the most. Vazquez also talks about how watching her mother host Mexico’s “first yard sale” while she was growing up taught her the value of entrepreneurship for changing women’s lives, and the fundamental mental shift that many businesswomen need to make to reach their potential.

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A Dream Come to Life

Selva Constructor, Karolo’s latest business venture, is an architecture and construction firm based in Tarapoto, Peru.

Selva Constructor, Karolo’s latest business venture, is an architecture and construction firm based in Tarapoto, Peru.

CIPE began working with Peruvian NGO, Instituto Invertir, in 2008, with the belief that developing business and leadership skills in young Peruvians from the country’s diverse regions would help build a culture of entrepreneurship and civic participation – creating alternatives to the limited social and economic opportunities. This, in response to the general populations’ frustration with the shortcomings of the country’s democratic system and an increasingly anti-democratic rhetoric from leaders in certain areas of Peru. The initial vision of what program success would look like has been far exceeded thanks to the initiative of young Peruvians like Karolo Pérez Alvarado.

Long-time CIPE Development Blog readers may recall being introduced to Karolo back in January 2010. As one of the inaugural fellows in the first ever EmprendeAhora (EA) program in 2008, Karolo and his teammates were awarded first prize in the business plan contest for their idea to inject adventure into bio tourism in the San Martín region of Peru.

Having struck up a friendship with Karolo during my visit to Tarapoto, San Martín, naturally we made it official on Facebook. In the years since I have maintained contact from afar and watched as Karolo grew from a young man with a fun business idea into a successful entrepreneur serving as a driving force behind his community’s development, and an inspiration for young entrepreneurs around the country.

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Ukraine Needs to Privatize its State-Owned Companies — But Rushing It Would Repeat the Mistakes of the Past

Storied aviation company Antonov, makers of the world's largest cargo plane, is in no position to be privatized.

Storied aviation company Antonov, makers of the world’s largest cargo plane, is in no position to be privatized.

 

The stakes for reforming Ukraine’s state-owned companies are high: these companies are the lifeblood of a corrupt, sclerotic crony capitalist system that scares away potential investors, drives off international donors, and robs the Ukrainian government of legitimacy. But  privatizing them as quickly as possible is not the solution.

Even after mass privatization in Ukraine in the 1990s, the government still owns a large portfolio of companies in a variety of sectors – from heavy industry to banking — that employ over 900,000 employees, far more than any private firm.  Reforming these state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has been a slow process and remains incomplete due to weak corporate governance, unmotivated management, and a near-total lack of transparency. None of these problems will be solved by simply speeding up the process.

The demand for rapid privatization is a familiar tune. Western “expert” advice in the early 1990s led to a huge transfer of wealth from the former Soviet Union to a handful of connected insiders, particularly in Russia: first through voucher privatization and later through the disastrously corrupt loans-for-shares schemes in the run-up to Russia’s 1996 election.

To get an idea of the scale involved, a 1993 paper by several Western economists who worked directly on the voucher privatization program estimated that most of the Russian Federation’s civilian industrial base – nearly every plant, factory, and mine in the country – was effectively sold off to insiders for between $5 and $10 billion, less than it would have cost to buy a single mid-sized Fortune 500 company (and roughly equal to the market capitalization of Whole Foods today). Still, at the time they regarded this program as a great success.

Unfortunately, the corrupt and predatory “oligarch” elite, created practically overnight, proved to be more interested in asset-stripping than in transforming their new firms into firms that could compete on world markets. What followed was the largest peacetime economic collapse of any country in recorded history. The sheer volume of banditry surrounding state assets during the 1990s led many average citizens in post-Soviet countries to believe that lower standards of living and a complete lack of justice were a natural part of living under democracy.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #12: CIPE’s John Morrell on Tackling Corruption — What Can Be Done to Change “Business as Usual”?

Podcast hosts  Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with John Morrell (center)

Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with John Morrell (center)

In this week’s podcast, CIPE’s Regional Director for Asia John Morrell discusses when he witnessed for the first time how lack of governance and corruption undermines democracy and how that experience shapes his work today. Morrell talks about business-led solutions to corruption challenges and a CIPE project underway in Thailand that is changing the business culture in that country. Morrell also discusses his early career experiences in the Philippines and a non-profit he founded there to support an orphanage for abandoned children.

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Listen to past episodes of our show here.

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