Mobile App Gives Investors Instant Access to Corporate Governance Information

App demonstration, watch the full video on the website here.

The recently launched Elapedia app gives investors around the world instant access to corporate governance practices at 100 publically listed companies in the four Pacific Alliance countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). The free Spanish-language app, which relies on publically available data, provides information about boards’ policies related to managing conflicts of interest, risk management, and other topics of interest to investors.

“Until now, there was no easy way to compare information on corporate governance between Pacific Alliance countries,” said Andrew Wilson, CIPE managing director. “With this useful tool, investors can quickly become informed on corporate governance requirements. It’s a way to access that information without having to dig through multiple sources. This app will be a huge benefit to large companies looking to invest, put up a subsidiary or buy a company in Pacific Alliance countries.”

The Elapedia app, which was supported by CIPE and developed by Governance Consultants S.A., represents an important step toward the economic and commercial integration of Pacific Alliance countries. By efficiently harmonizing corporate governance practices, the app will greatly improve the flow of investments and help to strengthen Latin American economies.

Established in 2011, the Pacific Alliance’s goals include establishing the free movement of goods, services and people; driving economic growth; and overcoming socioeconomic inequality. Pacific Alliance countries have made significant progress toward improving standards for corporate governance by fulfilling requirements set forth by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Wilson said.

“With this user-friendly app, CIPE hopes to provide a valuable public service in line with one of our key focus areas—encouraging good corporate governance,” Wilson said. “Good corporate governance is critical to the integrity of business operations and to the overall institutional health of countries because it creates demand for better public governance and prevents devastating economic failures. The Elapedia app is intended to promote transparency and accountability, level the playing field, and encourage the disclosure or elimination of conflicts of interest.”

The Elapedia App can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

John Zemko is the Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean at CIPE. 

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #80: Manzoor Ahmad on Economic and Infrastructure Growth in Pakistan

From left: podcast guest Manzoor Ahmad, guest hosts Frank Brown and Jennifer Anderson

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Manzoor Ahmad, Ph.D., discusses economic and infrastructure growth in Pakistan. Ahmad is president of the PRIME Institute and a senior fellow with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva.

CIPE and PRIME collaborated to create the Government Policy Scorecard, which is intended to hold the Pakistani government accountable for economic promises made to its citizens. Ahmad says the project has been a success because it has opened the door for dialogue between the Pakistani government and PRIME Institute.

Ahmad also discusses the positive effects of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which took effect in February 2017 Ahmad credits the TFA with facilitating exports and expediting trade in developing countries, such as Pakistan.

Finally, in regards to infrastructure, Ahmad says Pakistan has benefited since the 2016 implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is intended to strengthen Pakistan’s economy by modernizing its infrastructure.

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

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

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Confronting Corruption in Asia’s New Democracies

Corruption is detrimental to countries’ economies because it leads to reduced productivity, high unemployment, and poverty. In addition to the economic cost, corruption corrodes democracies by weakening citizens’ confidence in their governments. This distrust and disenfranchisement can drive people to join extremist groups. “In conflict-affected areas, especially where Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State are trying to set up shop, economic grievances make it much easier to recruit local nationals into their fight,” commented Jennifer Anderson, CIPE’s senior program officer for South Asia. “Not only is corruption debilitating democracy in Afghanistan, it’s also leading to recruitment. Right now in Afghanistan, the Taliban has either control or influence over 40 percent of the country.”

Anderson spoke in a CIPE panel discussion in July that examined the issue of corruption in Asia, with a focus on Afghanistan and Cambodia. Other panelists included experts from CIPE’s Asia Department; the Hudson Institute; and SILAKA, a Cambodian nonprofit organization.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #79: Masooma Sibtain on Women’s Chamber of Commerce in South Asia

From left: podcast guest Masooma Sibtain, with Jennifer Anderson, guest host Marc F. Schleifer and host Ken Jaques.

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Masooma Sibtain, president of the South Punjab Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SPWCCI) in Pakistan, discusses the current state of women entrepreneurs in South Asia.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Sibtain says women in her country have always participated in the work force. However, most of their jobs have been in the informal sector as artisans. The regional women’s chambers are transforming Pakistani women from informal artisans to entrepreneurs by helping them to market and sell their products.

Sibtain says because of CIPE, the other women’s chambers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh learn from and support one another. Sibtain credits her chamber, its members and CIPE for teaching her the importance of support systems and advocacy.

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.

 

Democratic Backsliding in Bulgaria

Protest in Sofia, February 2013, via Wikimedia Commons

The Institute for Market Economics (IME), an independent economic policy think tank in Bulgaria, has sought to define the main challenges to democracy, investigating their roots and identifying possible solutions. In addition to its research, IME recently conducted two surveys. The general sentiment in both surveys confirms that there is a perception of democratic backsliding. Forty-five percent of experts and 61 percent of students polled believe that the quality of democracy in Bulgaria has worsened in recent years, while only 25 percent of experts and 18 percent of students have seen positive developments. The leading challenge to democracy, as identified by IME surveys and roundtable discussions, is state capture. This is the catalyst for problems in the judicial system and widespread political corruption. These trends are compounded by a closing media environment that is increasingly dominated by a politically dependent media.

The latest CIPE Feature Service article examines IME’s key findings and provides recommendations for various stakeholders, including the government, political parties, civil society, media, businesses, donors and the population at large.

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Improving Afghanistan’s Economy from the Bottom Up

Lead farmer Abdul Rahman with grapes. Afghanistan. 2008.
Photo: © Nicholas Bertrand / TAIMANI FILMS / WORLD BANK via Flickr

CIPE and the local Afghan business community teamed up to develop an initiative that is helping to spur economic growth and create jobs in the provinces. Driven entirely by the provincial business communities in Nangarhar, Kandahar, Balk, and Herat, CIPE’s Provincial Business Agenda (PBA) program has produced a wide range of results that improve the local business climate, which has suffered setbacks in recent years. In areas far from Kabul, the economy has been particularly hard-hit by a drastic reduction in international development spending since 2014, resulting in a huge increase in unemployment in the provinces. This has caused many Afghans who were previously employed by the military and international donors to move to Kabul to look for work—or to leave their country out of desperation to earn a living.

CIPE started working at the provincial level in 2008, but has stepped up its efforts since 2014 as its role has become increasingly vital. CIPE works with home-grown, provincial-level small businesses to identify the day-to-day problems Afghans face when trying to start or grow their businesses, which leads to the creation of more jobs. CIPE takes the bottom-up approach in Afghanistan. We do not create business associations, because in CIPE’s experience, the local business community views donor-created business associations as inauthentic. We work with associations and chambers that formed because the business community came together out of the innate understanding that there is safety in numbers and power in collective action. Given the context of decades of war, continuing violence and deep-rooted ills, removing the obstacles caused by poor governance is a reasonable starting point for a country as complex and as dangerous as Afghanistan. Creating an environment that is friendlier to small businesses is a good first step towards improving the overall economy.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #78: Omowumi Gbadamosi on Economic and Democratic Progress in Nigeria

From left: podcast guest Omowumi Gbadamosi with guest host Lars Benson, and host Ken Jaques.

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, CIPE’s Country Director in Nigeria, Omowumi Gbadamosi, discusses economic and democratic progress in Nigeria. Gbadamosi began her career with CIPE in 1988, and the most dramatic change she has seen in the last thirty years is the transformation in Nigeria from a military dictatorship to a democracy.

Gbadamosi believes the Nigerian government is now listening to the needs of the private sector, but the government needs to learn to respond. She is optimistic about Nigeria’s future as CIPE’s partners have continued to push for reforms.

Her advice to Nigeria’s private sector is to be resilient. Gbadamosi says working with the public sector can be dispiriting; it is essential for those in the private sector to stay persistent because advocacy is a continual process.

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.