Author Archives: Julie Mancuso-Craig

Not Invited to the Party


Zimbabwean economist Daniel Ndlela shares his thoughts on economic recovery as part of a conference hosted by the Southern Africa Political Economy Series Trust and the National Endowment for Democracy in May 2014. The conference, entitled “Zimbabwe Going Forward” featured Zimbabwean think tanks, private sector representatives, government and civil society. (l-r: Kupukile Mlambo, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Ndlela, and Abdulwahab Alkebsi, Regional Director for Africa, the Center for International Private Enterprise).

While 50 African heads of state prepared to visit Washington for the U.S.-Africa summit held earlier this month, one president who wasn’t invited decided to throw a party of his own. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe invited dignitaries and government officials to the State House on July 31 to mark the one year anniversary of his party’s victory over the opposition in national elections whose legitimacy was questioned by domestic and foreign observers alike.

The 90-year-old Mugabe, restricted from entering the United States due to targeted travel and financial sanctions, welcomed government friends to his official residence in Harare with a banquet and live music. Unfortunately, given Zimbabwe’s economic outlook, throwing a party is the last thing the President should be doing.

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Growing Pains or Insurmountable Odds?


South Sudan just successfully hosted one of the largest events in the country’s short two-year history. On December 4 and 5 an impressively diverse crowd of potential investors and business owners from more than 60 countries came together in the capital Juba for the South Sudan Investment Conference, titled “Investment for Economic Diversification and Prosperity.” With more than 800 people registered to attend the two-day event, and at least 500 actually in attendance, observers and participants alike were relatively pleased that the event was carried out with only a few hiccups.

Logistically, it was just shy of a miracle. With only one major paved road in the entire country, a nascent hospitality and service industry, and a lack of local transportation options, it is noteworthy that an event of this magnitude even took place.

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Kenya’s Aspiring Governors Debate the Economy


Candidates for Governor of Nakuru, Dr. Francis Kirangi and Lawrence Bomet engage in KAM-hosted economic debates.

While the recent presidential debates in Kenya are being hailed as a success, a newly-created political office could have a decidedly more powerful influence on the lives of Kenya’s 40 million residents: County Governors.

In order to learn about the platforms of candidates for these new positions and ensure that issues critical to the private sector are addressed, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), with CIPE support, is running a series of gubernatorial debates focusing on economic issues.

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An Accidental Corruption Crusader

Yinka Osobu does not consider herself a crusader against corruption. In fact, she is a small business owner in Nigeria trying to keep costs down, manufacture quality products, and make a profit. She has been doing this for 18 years as the CEO of CMC Interiors, a furniture and fabric company based in Lagos.

However, when she was charged a different price for each container she imported, she grew frustrated. “There weren’t two containers that came in under the same regulations,” she said, noting how prices and regulations changed with no consistency or clarity. “I had reached the end of the road.”

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CIPE Opens Nigeria Office

After more than twenty years of innovative and impact-oriented programming in Nigeria, CIPE has opened the doors of its first brick-and-mortar office in Sub-Saharan Africa, located in Nigeria’s most populated city – Lagos.

“The opening of the Nigeria office is a significant benchmark for CIPE’s Africa programming on the continent,” said Abdulwahab Alkebsi, CIPE’s Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East, “It provides more on-the-ground capacity than CIPE has had before, but also solidifies our local presence, which we’ve managed for more than 20 years from Washington. This office will further our strategy of partnering locally to strengthen democratic and economic reforms.”

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Small farms, big ideas for food security

Dohinayili Tiwumti Women Rice Processors meet to discuss how to advocate to improve policy affecting food security. (Photo: CIPE)

“…the first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” -Norman Borlaug, “father of the Green Revolution

For those who believe access to food is a soft issue, relegated to the compassionate humanitarians inspired by photos of starving children, the events of the past few weeks have shown quite the opposite: access to affordable food is the stuff of massive uprisings. High food prices were a significant catalyst that helped tip the scales in Tunisia, in Egypt, and beyond.

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Transformational Leadership Wanted

For the second year in a row, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has come up empty-handed in finding eligible candidates for its Ibrahim Prize, a prize worth quite a notable chunk of change – $5M for the first 10 years, and then another $200K every year thereafter. Yet the award has actually only been given out twice – first in its inaugural year in 2007 and then again in 2008. What gives? The Ibrahim Prize, which celebrates excellence in African leadership looks for a couple key ingredients for its recipient: a democratically elected former African Executive Head of State or Government, who has served his/her term in office within the limits set by the country’s constitution and has left office in the last three years.

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