Author Archives: CIPE Staff

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #30: Syrian Economic Forum on the Role of the Private Sector in Syria’s Reconstruction

SEF podcast Aug 18 2016

Syrian Economic Forum (SEF) Executive Director Tamman Al Baroudi (left) and SEF Chairman Ayman Tabbaa (right) with podcast co-host Stephen Rosenlund, Senior Program Officer for Middle East and North Africa at CIPE. Tabbaa, Baroudi and Rosenlund called in to the show (via Skype) from Gaziantep, Turkey.

Syrian Economic Forum Chairman Ayman Tabbaa and Executive Director Tamman Al Baroudi discuss the current situation in Syria and the role of the private sector in reconstructing the country. Tabbaa and Baroudi talk about their lives in Syria prior to the revolution, why they had to leave Syria, and their work today providing information and policy options to help with the current economic situation and to plan for the future.

Tabbaa and Baroudi speak candidly about how their lives have changed, dangers they have faced in pursuing their work to help build a future for Syria, and their concerns for Syria’s youth.

The Syrian Economic Forum is an independent think tank that gives voice to the pro-democracy Syrian business community.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #29: Leveraging Youth and Technology for Governance Reform

Panelists

Panelists Maggie McDonough (on monitor), Gigi Raffo (center), and Blair Glencorse (right) with moderator Maiko Nakagaki.

International development organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of engaging youth in efforts to improve governance around the world. Youth in most societies are consistently more adept at using technology and recognizing its impact. Harnessing their energy and creativity to improve government policies and service delivery, through incorporating youth ideas and feedback, is a focus for a number of programs developed by CIPE and other organizations.

This week’s podcast is a recording of an event CIPE co-hosted yesterday with OpenGovHub.  The event was held in honor of International Youth Day, which took place on August 12.  The event was a panel discussion on the topic Leveraging Youth and Technology for Governance Reform. The discussion was moderated by CIPE’s Program Officer for Global Programs Maiko Nakagaki.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #28: CIPE Afghanistan Country Director Mohammed Nasib on Afghanistan’s Challenges and Its Future

CIPE Afghanistan Country Director Mohammed Nasib (left) with guest host Jenny Anderson.

CIPE Afghanistan Country Director Mohammed Nasib (left) with guest host Jenny Anderson.

As foreign forces pull back from Afghanistan, the country faces not only the threat of renewed violence but also deep economic challenges and corruption, which are deeply intertwined with the political instability.

Mohammed Nasib, Country Director for CIPE Afghanistan, and guest host Jenny Anderson, Program Officer for South Asia, discuss the country’s challenges and how CIPE is helping the Afghan private sector play a positive role in Afghanistan’s future.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #27: Jerry Brito of Coin Center on the Blockchain and its Social Impact Applications

Podcast guest Jerry Brito (left) with guest host Maiko Nakagaki.

Podcast guest Jerry Brito (left) with guest host Maiko Nakagaki.

The “blockchain” is the key innovation that makes decentralized, digital currencies like Bitcoin possible. Jerry Brito, executive director and head of research at Coin Center and an expert on cryptocurrency regulation, discusses the implications of the blockchain and its potential applications to governance and corruption problems from tracking land ownership to stopping the trade in blood diamonds.

Coin Center is the leading organization focused on research and advocacy on blockchain and crypocurrency technologies like Bitcoin. Follow Coin Center and Jerry Brito on Twitter.

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Donbas Entrepreneurs Reopening and Expanding Businesses in Ukraine

donbas-2

By Anastasiya Baklan

The war in Ukraine has been especially difficult for small businesses in the conflict-affected regions, despite a ceasefire agreed to in February 2015. According to the data of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, communities in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia suffer from a severe economic crisis, which is especially stressful for small and medium business owners.

Analysis of business owners’ attitudes in the Donbas region shows that the stressful situation provokes a fear of investing in illiquid assets such as real estate and land. So entrepreneurs in the region are revising their business models, leasing assets where possible and limiting immobile capital investment.

With the goal of assisting SMEs affected most by the economic downturn, as well as those businesses displaced by the conflict, CIPE recently supported at-risk entrepreneurs in six towns (Berdyansk, Pershotravensk, Slavyansk, Lozova, Svatovo and Kreminna) through a business training and mentoring program for 119 people. The USAID-funded project was based on strategies that promote specific business sectors in each of the target communities, which business owners are now beginning to operationalize.

Given the dire economic situation in Donbas, CIPE was pleasantly surprised to encounter several social impact business models. For example, Oleksandr Gadenko from the village of Osypenko near Berdiansk, has a business concept that will extend the public water supply to the villagers who suffer from a complete lack of water.

The business would bring fresh running water to residents of 800 housing units, which currently have no access to water at all. The novel business financing model, involving a mixture of state investment, private funding, and donor support, will allow villagers to access running water while earning a modest rate of return for the business owner.

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Democracy that Delivers podcast #26: Nancy Hendry Discusses the Pervasive, but Often Ignored Problem of “Sextortion”

Podcast guest Nancy Henderson (left) and guest host Laura Van Voorhees.

Podcast guest Nancy Henderson (left) and guest host Laura Van Voorhees.

International Association of Women Judges’ Senior Advisor Nancy Hendry discusses IAWJ’s work addressing “sextortion.” The IAWJ coined the term to describe a pervasive, but often ignored, form of sexual exploitation and corruption that occurs when people in positions of authority – whether government officials, judges, educators, law enforcement personnel, or employers – seek to extort sexual favors in exchange for something within their power to grant or withhold. In effect, sextortion is a form of corruption in which sex, rather than money, is the currency of the bribe.  Although it is a prevalent practice in many countries, it often is not discussed in the context of corruption issues because corruption is generally associated with financial exchanges.

Created in 1991, the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose members represent all levels of the judiciary worldwide and share a commitment to equal justice and the rule of law. The IAWJ currently has approximately 4,600 members in 75 countries and areas worldwide.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #25: Medhawi Giri and Stephanie Bandyk on Working in International Development

Guests Stephanie Bandyk (left) and Medhawi Giri.

Guests Stephanie Bandyk (left) and Medhawi Giri.

In this episode of the Democracy that Delivers podcast, CIPE’s Medhawi Giri, Program Assistant for South Asia, and Stephanie Bandyk, Program Assistant for Global Programs, discuss how they got interested in international development, democracy, and economic reform issues, their academic and career backgrounds, and what they’ve learned since working at CIPE.

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