Author Archives: CIPE Staff

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #84: Johanna Mendelson-Forman on Food Diplomacy

From left: guest host Stephen Rosenlund, podcast guest Johanna Mendelson-Forman and host Ken Jaques

This week’s guest on Democracy that Delivers is food diplomacy expert Johanna Mendelson-Forman. She is an adjunct professor at American University and distinguished fellow with the Managing Across Boundaries Initiative at the Stimson Center.

Mendelson-Forman explains the little-known social benefits of food. For example, food builds a sense of community by connecting people with food from a different culture. Food also reduces social tensions and division because of the bond created with others while enjoying the pleasurable act of eating together.

She also explains that food is also a major source of employment because it provides jobs for people who grow and transport food.

Finally, Mendelson-Forman discusses the importance of CIPE’s partnership with the Stimson Center to create the LIFE (Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship) project. LIFE aims to develop entrepreneurship skills and drive job creation for Syrian refugees in Turkey. The LIFE project will launch on Friday, September 15.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #83: Jeffrey Smith on Political Change in Gambia

From left: podcast guest Jeffrey Smith, guest host Toni Weis and host Ken Jaques

This week’s guest is Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a startup nonprofit that provides campaign advice and public relations support to pro-democracy leaders in Africa.

Smith aims to bring the international spotlight to Gambia, which is recovering from a more than two-decades-long dictatorship. Political and civil rights were nonexistent during the presidency of Yahya Jammeh, a former military officer who ruled the country from 1994 to 2016. Vanguard Africa partnered with Gambia’s presidential candidates in 2016 to campaign against Jammeh, who lost the election.

Despite this accomplishment, Smith says Vanguard Africa’s work in Gambia is unfinished; a country cannot transition from dictatorship to democracy overnight. The nonprofit is now focused on holding the new government accountable. To aide with the transition, CIPE has partnered with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a national business council for the private sector.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #82: Karim Shaaban on Economic Growth in Local Communities in Jordan

From left: guest host Anna Kompanek and podcast guest Karim Shaaban

This week’s guest on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast is Karim Shaaban, CIPE’s program director in Jordan. In this podcast, Shaaban discusses the positive effects that CIPE and the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support (LENS) Project have had on economic growth in local communities in Jordan.

LENS was created to support the growth of micro and small enterprises, particularly those led by women. Three associations involved in LENS focus primarily on empowering working women and women entrepreneurs.

LENS and CIPE have also worked to bolster Jordan’s tourism sector. Despite the country’s appeal as a hiking and rock climbing destination for international tourists, the tourism industry has historically lacked structure. CIPE partnered with the Jordan Mountaineering Association, which is composed of tour guides and tourism operators, to help the association plan and organize its first board of directors’ election.

In addition, Shaaban credits CIPE with providing local businesses with training and technical assistance. He says that with CIPE’s support, seven business associations were able to increase their revenue and diversify their revenue streams.

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Associations Play an Important Role in Improving Ukraine’s Business Climate

CIPE expert Nataliia Kobylchak (left) and Mykolaiv coalition member Iryna Yerofeyeva (right) at CIPE’s M-Test training in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

By Nataliya Zhuhay and Caroline Elkin

As in any state ruled by law, local government officials in Ukraine are obligated to work within the framework of existing laws when developing regulations. But in practice, the regulations they create often act as obstacles for entrepreneurs to run their businesses. These flawed regulations can be poorly written, full of holes that corrupt officials can exploit, or do not correspond to existing laws. Until recently, such regulations did not take into account the costs they imposed, for example, on the café owner who wants to open a summertime terrace—or for that matter, any other basic entrepreneurial activity.

In December 2015, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution requiring all legislators to calculate the cost of implementing regulations for small businesses. This procedure is known as the M-Test. Although the resolution seems to represent a victory for Ukrainian business owners, many challenges remain. First, previously adopted regulations are not subject to the M-Test. Secondly, officials are not required to examine existing regulations for their corruption potential. Thirdly, the State Regulatory Service of Ukraine is unable to change problematic regulations because it can only make recommendations. Thus, only the courts are capable of compelling local governments to withdraw or change regulations. In practice, though, entrepreneurs are reluctant to pursue such matters in court, preferring instead to keep their heads down. As a result, the conditions for doing business on the local level discourage entrepreneurs rather than encourage them.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #81: Vaqar Ahmed on Growth in Pakistan’s Private Sector

From left: podcast guest Vaqar Ahmed and guest hosts Maria Philip and Vivek Shivaram

This week’s guest on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast is Vaqar Ahmed, Ph.D. Ahmed is deputy executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

In this podcast, Ahmed discusses CIPE’s partnership with SDPI, the growth of Pakistan’s economy, and the country’s need for a thriving private sector. After a decade of low gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Pakistan’s economy has begun to improve. The private sector will play a key role in the country’s economic turnaround, and a free, transparent market is necessary for the private sector to flourish.

SDPI’s main aim is to provide a sustainable development community in Pakistan by addressing such issues as climate change, food security and tax reform. With CIPE’s support, SDPI has developed economic programs that have received support from members of the Pakistani parliament.

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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.

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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.

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