Author Archives: Guest

Trade Facilitation Helps Developing Countries Get a Leg Up

docked_ship_ropes_1600px

By Lindsey Klaassen

This piece originally appeared on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Above the Fold blog

Developing countries tend to experience higher costs to trade and are ill-equipped to navigate through the mire of international border requirements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) established the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in part to address this very challenge.

The TFA is unique in several respects, as it was the first multilateral trade agreement set forth by the WTO, and it was intentionally designed to make cross-border trade easier for developing countries. Once fully implemented, it is estimated that the TFA will reduce trade costs by up to 15 percent for developing countries and increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion annually by increasing customs efficiency and cutting red tape that impedes the efficient flow of goods at the border.

Read More…

Trade Facilitation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

16023797191_054762847e_k

By Michael Merriam

In recent months, research on global trade has been divided over the effects of a long negotiated trade partnership for twelve Pacific Rim nations. Signed by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is, by GDP of signatory nations, the largest free trade pact in the history of the world. With many standards and provisions, the agreement’s depths contain articles that deal with a variety of subjects ranging from intellectual property rights to environmental protection. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, there will be 18,000 different taxes on American products that will be reduced or eliminated by adoption of the TPP. Beyond the benefits to the United States, the increased trade promotion and tariff reduction of the TPP promises to advance job creation, good governance, trade competitiveness, and stable economic growth on both sides of the pacific. Most significantly, the TPP incorporates greater trade facilitation requirements than past regional trade pacts, a hopeful sign for the future of global trade.

Read More…

Crunch Time for Egypt’s Economic Reform

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

This blog originally appeared in Arabic on CIPE-Arabia.org

Indeed, Egypt is going through a very difficult period. The current economic situation is intrinsically linked to the accumulated weight of poorly addressed economic challenges over the past forty years.  Economic problems were either ignored, or in other instances, their root causes were not addressed in a profound and decisive manner.  On the other hand, undoubtedly, Egypt has all the capabilities to become one of the largest world economies.  This potential has been noted in reports of financial institutions such as the 2010 Citibank report.

The current difficulty stems from fact that there is no alternative to undertaking a comprehensive economic reform program. However, in the short run all Egyptians- the wealthy, the poor, and the middle class, will have to bear the brunt of these reforms. That said, with sound management of reform program, Egyptians will enjoy the fruits of reform in the medium to long run.

There can be no doubt that enacting economic reforms is crucial for Egypt’s progress. Thus, “No,” is my final unequivocal answer to the most critical question of whether Egypt has other alternatives to entering into the loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Read More…

Closing the Gender Gap in Political and Economic Participation

Photo: CIPE

Photo: CIPE

By Yini Wu

“In high school, boys and girls are equally interested in running for office in the future. But by college graduation, young women’s political ambitions drop dramatically.”

The voice of women and youth is considerably underrepresented in political leadership positions worldwide, and engaging young women in public service is “the first step” to deal with the gender gap in political ambitions. “We have to start with young women in universities, even in high schools,” said Michelle Bekkering, Senior Gender Advisor at IRI, “and help them to really understand the essence of politics.”

In a recent event on closing the gender gap in leadership, Bikkering discussed approaches to increasing the percentage of women holding public service positions and addressing the barriers that female candidates face with Sandra Pepera, Director for Gender, Women and Democracy at NDI, and Jessica Reis, Vice President of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

CIPE also believes in the power of women and youth, and has been dedicated to empowering women and youth around the world through its international programs. CIPE’s youth programs empower talented young professionals worldwide as the political leaders of tomorrow by providing them opportunities and necessary tools to actually engage in the policymaking process.

Read More…

What Does “Intersectionality” Mean for International Development?

Participants at a Women's Business Network meeting in Nepal in 2014.

Participants at a Women’s Business Network meeting in Nepal in 2014.

By Hanna Pioske

The word “intersectionality” is thrown around a lot these days. Political candidates use intersectional rhetoric in their campaigns, and organization after organization publish reports on the benefits of creating intersectional programming. Everyone seems to be using the term as a buzzword to add legitimacy to their beliefs. But what does intersectionality truly mean, and what lessons can the international development community take away from it?

Intersectional theory originated in academia as a way to explain the dual oppressions African-American women faced from the combined effects of racism and sexism. In 1989, African-American legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in her seminal work “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.”

In the article, Crenshaw compares multiple axes of oppression to a car accident in an intersection. Much as a car in the middle of an intersection can be hit by vehicles coming from any or all directions, an African-American woman can be discriminated against through racism, sexism, or both. Since this first use, the term has expanded beyond the particular struggle of African-American women to include multiple intersections of gender, such as class, disability, religion, and sexual orientation.

Read More…

Associations Must Innovate to Survive Digital Disruption

OBP Profile pic (hi-res)By Octavio Peralta

Digital disruption is turning the world on its head, and presenting opportunities as well as threats, to associations, chambers, societies, non-profits, and other membership organizations. As relationships develop online and social media opens up new ways to be part of many communities, many associations are faced with the prospect of having a less tightly-bound group or worse, losing their membership. On the other hand, greater connectivity leads to new models of membership and network collaborations.

The Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) www.pcaae.org will tackle this burning issue and other related topics designed to share association professionals’ and experts’ insights in creating innovative ways to deal with shifts in the digital age.

With the theme “Race to Innovation: Winning in the Age of Disruption,” the PCAAE Associations Summit 4 (AS4) is expected to draw about 200 association professionals here and abroad. The two-day summit is slated for November 23 to 24, 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, and will feature local and international speakers who will share best practices in association and membership organization governance, leadership and management.

Read More…

What Good is Economics as a Science, if Not Based on Field Studies?

Reem_Abdel_Halim

By Dr. Reem Abdel Haliem

This post originally appeared in Arabic on the CIPE Arabia blog.

I currently work with CIPE partner the Federation of Economic Development Associations (FEDA) on a study to bring Egypt’s informal sector into the formal one. Since there are number of studies on this topic, FEDA chose to focus its study on producing a guide – more of a roadmap – that outlines practical steps to facilitating the informal sector’s formalization.

A series of focus groups based on a robust methodology was a must to achieve sound findings and to draw evidence-based conclusions. Through those focus groups, we formed a logical and comprehensive understanding of the problems that the formal sector faces, so to grasp the disincentives that make the idea of formalizing unattractive to the informal sector. Formal sector operators face these problems almost on a daily basis and with a variety of local and national government authorities. This understanding could not be reached through a typical literature review.

Through my experience in the focus groups and with drafting this roadmap, it became clear to me that with the right field research tools, grasping the on-the-ground reality makes policy recommendations more accurate and relevant to addressing the stakeholders’ needs and, as such, makes these recommendations of higher value to the state and the general public.

Read More…