The Continued Decline of Internet Freedom

Image via Freedom House

Image via Freedom House

For the sixth consecutive year, internet freedom throughout the world has continued to decline. Although efforts to close the digital divide by bringing more people online has continued, 67%, or two-thirds of all internet users, fear the unprecedented penalties from living in countries with high levels of censorship. According to Freedom House’s latest report, Freedom on the Net Report 2016, Estonia, Iceland, and Canada are the most open countries when it comes to internet freedom, while China, Syria, and Iran are the most restrictive.

The 2016 report gathered information from 65 countries, measuring each individual country’s level of internet and digital freedom by using a variety of indicators. Since 2015, Turkey and Brazil have continued to move away from internet freedom, and just 14 countries registered overall improvements from the previous year.

Read More…

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #44: Aurelio Garcia on Making Trade More Inclusive

Podcast Guest Aurelio Garcia

Podcast guest Aurelio Garcia

This week on the CIPE Democracy that Delivers podcast, international trade expert Aurelio Garcia talks about trade facilitation and how tackling red tape makes trade more inclusive. Garcia differentiates trade policy from “trade facilitation,” which involves improving the procedures required to move goods across borders. He describes how trade facilitation helps bring the benefits of trade to more businesses and entrepreneurs. Garcia explains that you cannot “solve 21st century problems with regulations from the 1950s and 60s” and discusses how data and IT systems are key to making trade systems more efficient and accessible. Garcia also talks about his first job working for a garlic exporter in Spain and how that experience still informs his work today.

Watch a video that highlights the way trade facilitation makes cross border movement of goods much easier in Central America.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

Public-Private Dialogue Key for Economic Development in Afghanistan

112816-vivek-afghanistan

Fifteen years after the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan began, it feels as if many of the same problems persist. Thousands of Afghans have been made jobless as military bases have closed across the country and development and foreign assistance programs have been reduced or have ended; the National Unity Government continues to be paralyzed by political infighting and rampant corruption; and a resurgent Taliban have threatened to overrun several provincial capitals and have orchestrated a number of terrorist attacks across the country, including in Kabul. Despite these worrying trends, the Afghan people have made significant progress since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001. Basic services such as electricity and running water were unavailable even in Kabul during the years of Taliban rule, and have now spread throughout the country. Trips between cities that used to take days due to unpaved roads can now be completed in hours. Prior to October 2001, making an international call involved traveling across the border to Pakistan. Today, almost 85% of the population has mobile phone coverage, according to a 2012 USAID assessment.

Read More…

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #43: Angela Ospina on Making Trade Policies Work

From left: Podcast guest Angela Ospina (center) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson

From left: Podcast guest Angela Ospina (center) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Colombian trade advisor Angela Ospina discusses what is involved in making trade policies work. Ospina explains her current work as a trade advisor at the Colombian Mission to the European Union where she focuses on international trade policies, particularly World Customs Organization regulations. She talks about growing up in Bogota, her interest in travel and international relations, and how her experiences studying for her master’s degree in Japan influenced her approach to trade policy and its implementation.

Ospina discusses the significance of a peace agreement in Colombia and her optimism regarding the economic future of her country. She also talks about how seemingly technical trade issues play out in people’s daily lives. The hardest part of her job? Not the policymaking itself but ensuring that policies will work in practice.

www.mincit.gov.co

The views expressed in this discussion are those of the guest Angela Ospina and do not represent those of the Government of Colombia.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

Revisiting: A Dream Come to Life

ea-option-1

CIPE has long supported the belief that entrepreneurs and private enterprise drive gains in productivity and innovation and are thus crucial to building prosperous societies that deliver opportunity to all. As such, CIPE has devoted significant attention to the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs by supporting business education programs in countries around the globe. Through programs like Tashabos in Afghanistan, Riyadeh in Syria and Turkey, and EmprendeAhora in Peru, tens of thousands of young people interested in starting their own businesses have gained the skills necessary to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Read More…

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #42: Kalsoom Lakhani on her Journey from Storytelling to Empowering the Startup Community in Pakistan

Podcast Guest Kalsoom Lakhani

Podcast guest Kalsoom Lakhani

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Invest2Innovate (I2I) CEO and Founder Kalsoom Lakhani talks about the trends, opportunities, and challenges that entrepreneurs face in Pakistan and the report that I2I just launched that looks at the environment for start-ups and investors in the country. Lakhani traces her work today back to her childhood in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and to her early interest in conflict resolution that stemmed from hearing about her family’s experiences during the Bangladesh War of 1971. The stories she heard as a child still resonate today as she seeks to increase understanding around the world about what everyday life is really like in countries such as Pakistan that are often best known in the West for violence and instability. Lakhani talks about how her interest in social justice led her to venture philanthropy and to the work she does today helping shape a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in Pakistan.

Follow Kalsoom on Twitter: @kalsoom82.

Download a free copy of the Invest2Innovate 2016 Pakistan Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Report.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

Building Responsible Data into Project Design

big-data-1667184_1280

Every year hundreds of people come together for the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) in Development Tech Conference. The MERL Tech Conference – this year hosted in Washington, D.C.— brings together practitioners, from a number of international development sectors, to exchange ideas on innovative ways to use technology to collect, analyze, and use data. My colleague, CIPE Senior Evaluation Officer Denise Baer, and I attended the conference in search of ideas of how to best handle the “responsible data” CIPE collects from its partners.  We also partnered with representatives from Sonjara, The Engine Room, and Reboot to co-lead a conference session entitled “The Lifecycle of Responsible Data.”

Read More…