Author Archives: CIPE Staff

Democracy that Delivers #99: Long-time CIPE Partner Jaroslav Romanchuk Discusses Evolution of Economic System in Belarus

From left: podcast guest Jaroslav Romanchuk, Caroline Elkin, guest host Eric Hontz and host Ken Jaques

On this week’s podcast, Belarussian economist Jaroslav Romanchuk discusses important reforms taking place in his home country, which has maintained many Soviet Union ideologies.

Romanchuk, Executive Director for Analytical Center “Strategy,” provides a history on the country’s move from a centrally planned economy to more market-oriented processes.

Romanchuk has worked with CIPE to form a coalition of business associations and think tanks that have successfully advocated for 450 democratic reforms in Belarus over the past decade.

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Democracy that Delivers #98: How Countries Can Overcome Challenges to Enforcing Anti-Corruption Laws

From left: podcast guest Drago Kos, guest host Frank Brown and host Ken Jaques

OECD’s Drago Kos says passing anti-corruption laws is much easier than enforcing them in most countries. Kos, who chairs the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery, is the guest of this week’s podcast and discusses the difficulties many nations face when implementing anti-corruption measures. Kos shares new details about groundbreaking work the OECD is doing to help foreign governments implement anti-corruption policies, fight poverty, and restore confidence in local markets. The OECD, short for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, has 35 member countries worldwide and works closely with international businesses.

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Democracy that Delivers #97: Reform Measures and the Role of Civil Society in Poland

From left: podcast guest Marek Tatala, guest host Marc Schleifer, and host Ken Jaques

What is the likely role of civil society in Poland amid calls for more policy changes and justice reforms? In this week’s podcast, Civil Development Forum Vice President, Marek Tatala shares his take and explains how CDF is using technology and other outreach mechanisms to empower citizens.

CDF is a CIPE partner and non-governmental think tank based in Poland. CDF’s mission is to promote and defend economic freedoms, rule of law, and also the concept of limited government.

For more background on some of the current challenges facing Poland nearly three decades after the fall of communism, as well as expert recommendations, read CIPE Global Director Anna Kompanek’s blog “Democratic and Market Values Face Obstacles in Poland”.

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Democracy that Delivers #96: Citizens Stand to Benefit from Improving the Way the Indonesian Government Buys Goods and Services

From left: podcast guests Jeanmarie Meyer and Troy Wray, and host Ken Jaques

Public procurement—when governments purchase goods and services —directly affects drinking water, healthcare, roads, and many other aspects of citizens’ day-to-day lives. Good public procurement saves tax dollars, while weak public procurement drains governments’ coffers. According to Millennium Challenge Corporation, about forty percent of Indonesia’s national budget continues to leak every year because of a poor procurement system.

In this week’s podcast, Jeanmarie Meyer and Troy Wray discuss the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) efforts to update Indonesia’s purchasing processes through the Procurement Modernization Project. The MCC, a U.S. foreign aid agency, works with local government representatives to increase efficiency in order to improve infrastructure.

Since launching the project in 2013, Meyer, senior director of program procurement policy, and Wray, country director for Indonesia, have provided procurement professionals with modern technical tools and guidelines to assistant them in their purchasing decisions. One of these tools is the Institutional Development Modeling Framework, which measures institutional maturity based on five levels.

Institutional Development Modeling Framework

Visit the Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia for more information about the MCC’s procurement initiative and other MCC projects in Indonesia.

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Democracy that Delivers #95: Cadasta’s Frank Pichel Explains How Land Rights Impact Modern Economies

From left: guest host Anna Kompanek, podcast guest Frank Pichel, and host Ken Jaques

It is estimated that more than 70 percent of land in emerging economies is held informally, meaning without proper documentation. In this new podcast, Cadasta Foundation  Interim CEO Frank Pichel explains the vital role of land rights within modern economies and how Cadasta is leveraging new technology to strengthen and formalize land tenure systems in developing nations. Pichel, who co-founded the non-profit organization just two over years ago, says Cadasta now works with partners in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

CIPE Global Programs Director Anna Kompanek shares additional insight and describes other key projects aimed at addressing property rights issues, as well as related infrastructure or institutions such as access to finance and dispute resolution. CIPE has partnered with the International Real Property Foundation to create the International Property Markets Scorecard. The scorecard maps out the ecosystem of property markets in more than 30 countries to highlight strengths, weaknesses, and possible areas for future reform efforts.

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Democracy that Delivers #94: Manizha Wafeq on Trailblazing the Creation of Afghanistan’s First Women’s Chamber of Commerce

From left: podcast guest Manizha Wafeq, guest host Jennifer Anderson and host Ken Jaques

Manizha Wafeq, a founder of the Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI), discusses the groundbreaking formation of the country’s first women’s chamber of commerce.

In 2014, a group of Afghan businesswomen, known as the Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan’s Development (LEAD), arranged to meet with the country’s first lady and High Economic Council. The businesswomen appealed to the country’s powerbrokers to allow them to formally change their group’s name to the Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and they asked to be recognized as the country’s first official women’s chamber of commerce.

Three years later, on March 12, 2017, the group received official permission to changed its name and register with the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. In this week’s podcast, Wafeq describes the arduous process and the significance of the milestone name change.

Despite working in the formal sector and creating jobs for the country, Wafeq explains that AWCCI is still needed because of the onerous hurdles Afghan businesswomen face. These obstacles include social and cultural barriers and limited access to markets and finance.

For more information on their accomplishments and news, visit AWCCI’s website. Watch our latest video learn more about CIPE’s partnership with other women’s chambers in South Asia.

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Insights for Global Entrepreneurship Week: The Connection Between Entrepreneurship and Democracy

A restaurant owner makes gözleme, a traditional Turkish pastry, in her small storefront in the Beşiktaş neighborhood of Istanbul. She opened her business four years ago, where she now works with two employees.

When business owners are given the freedom to innovate and support to get started, they launch companies that create jobs, provide needed goods or services, and fuel economies. In CIPE’s latest feature service article, Director of Knowledge Management Kim Eric Bettcher examines the connection between entrepreneurship and democracy— the cornerstones of a free society.

Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is observed in 160 countries, provides an opportunity for CIPE and others to spotlight key issues facing entrepreneurs and their communities, as well as a platform to share information about ground-breaking programs and successful strategies or approaches. CIPE is developing a new series of “Partner Portraits,” podcasts, reports, and blogs designed to provide additional insight and recognize individuals, organizations, and partners working on a multitude of global projects to strengthen democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.

Economic empowerment for women continues to be a top concern worldwide. One inspirational leader and CIPE partner is Rezani Aziz, who recently founded the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations of Sri Lanka (FWEASL). Nearly 40 percent of women there are unemployed. Aziz describes some of the biggest hurdles facing women attempting to enter the Sri Lankan workforce and how her organization and others in the region hope to foster change on a new Democracy that Delivers podcast.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Business Resource Center in Papua New Guinea is celebrating its one-year anniversary. The Center is a U.S. State Department-funded initiative that is led by CIPE. In a country where women have few legal rights, the Center helps women of all backgrounds access business services, training, and support—free of charge and in a safe environment with round-the-clock security. Read CIPE Program Officer Sarah Yun’s blog for real-life stories about women who have benefited from the Center’s support.

Job creation efforts and new business growth present major challenges and opportunities in many societies. Consortium partners in Turkey just launched Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE), one of CIPE’s newest projects. The program is intended to support sustainable livelihoods for Syrians and other refugees, as well as members of the host country. LIFE partners will establish two food business incubators in Istanbul and Gaziantep. In all, the project will support more than 200 entrepreneurs and over 1,000 workers in the food industry. Listen to Hans-Joachim Hogrefe with Refugees International discusses how the LIFE project will benefit the Turkish economy. Gastrodiplomacy expert Dr. Johanna Mendelson-Forman explains how food builds a sense of community and offers an opportunity for cultural exchange.

Anti-corruption and trade issues are top priorities in many nations. A new CIPE program in Colombia plays an important role in supporting the country’s ongoing peace process. With assistance from CIPE and others, Colombia’s government is offering incentives to businesses that expand operations in regions ravaged by years of violence.  The groups are reaching out to local communities for input on economic development. CIPE’s lead in-country consultant Jaime Arteaga explains how the efforts will pave the way for positive change and investment opportunities. Another result will be proposals to improve transparency and effectiveness, shares Víctor Saavedra, economist and a researcher with the think tank Fedesarrollo.

Youth entrepreneurship and mentoring is another priority. The Xelajú Naranja program in Guatemala in early 2017 is intended to help young men and women learn to be effective entrepreneurs, particularly in the cultural and IT sectors. Participants have received training in basic business principles and ways to get their creative enterprises off the ground.

In Africa, CIPE has partnered with Gambia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a national business council for the private sector, as the country attempts to embrace democracy following two decades of dictatorship. Jeff Smith, Executive Director of the non-profit Vanguard Africa discusses current challenges, which include accountability issues.