Category Archives: Africa

The Dilemma of Corporate Governance and Business Ethics in Sudan

A man in his shoe shop in Khartoum, Sudan. Support from the international business community is needed to empower the local private sector to fight corruption and foment sustainable growth.

Decades of conflict, civil war, and the secession of South Sudan in 2011, combined with the slump in global oil prices, have had a profound effect on Sudan’s economy and developmental progress. As the country attempts to emerge from conflict and integrate into the global economy following the lifting of sanctions, it must continue to navigate institutional challenges and steady itself in the aftermath of multiple economic shocks. With reduced international investment and a private sector that faces complex obstacles, fighting corruption is paramount to a successful transition and an imperative for future growth.

Dirdeiry M. Ahmed, Ph.D., (far right) spoke about why the international business community should include Sudan in its efforts to combat corruption in Khartoum, Sudan on August 7, 2017.

To this end, CIPE and its local partner, Al Oula, launched an anti-corruption initiative to support the private sector in mitigating corruption at the firm level while engaging in advocacy to promote transparency and limit opportunities for illicit behavior. Dirdeiry M. Ahmed, Ph.D., a passionate advocate for effective, sustainable development in Sudan, delivered a speech at the initiative’s inaugural summit to call attention to the challenges facing the business community in Sudan. We are sharing his speech now in honor of the United Nations’ International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.

Ahmed’s speech traces the historical socio-cultural dynamics that continue to plague the growth of the local economy, the adoption of business ethics, and effective corporate governance in Sudan. It also acknowledges the progress made and makes recommendations for achieving inclusive, private sector-led economic development and stability going forward. Read the article based on Ahmed’s speech.

Lola Adekanye is CIPE’s Anti-Corruption Program Officer based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ghana’s Growing Pains: Young People’s Economic Priorities Differ from Government’s Plans

Ghana’s disconnect between the government’s focus on agriculture and young people’s desire for better-quality jobs poses an obstacle to democracy and economic development.

Ghana’s millennial generation wants a change to the status quo, and with 57 percent of the country’s population under the age of 25, it is time for leaders to take note. The new government hopes that strengthening the agriculture sector will help to create jobs and combat youth unemployment. However, the government may have to convince young Ghanaians that focusing on agriculture is the right solution, according to a national survey sponsored by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The country’s economic landscape is changing, and with increasing connectivity and the rise of Accra as a regional hub, young people will not be content with their parents’ agricultural jobs. Instead, they want stable work that benefits from the promises of a transitioning economy.

In Ghana, the disconnect between opportunities presented by the government and the type of jobs that young people want poses a major obstacle to democracy and economic development. Education holds the promise of access to better jobs, and the government will be under pressure to deliver these jobs as more of the country’s youth reach working age. What constitutes a quality job for young Ghanaians? For now, the answer does not seem to lie in agricultural jobs. In order to respond to the needs of Ghanaian millennials and support economic growth and transition, it is an increasingly important question to ask.

Cocoa is a top export of West African countries, including Ghana.

Since taking office in early 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has launched five policy initiatives to support agriculture, education access, and job creation, and foster a business-friendly environment. Following Akufo-Addo’s election victory in December of 2016, CIPE and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Ghana conducted a national survey of Ghanaians’ top policy priorities. VOTO Mobile administered the survey via cell phone in March 2017 to 1,641 people across Ghana’s 10 regions. The survey results, as interpreted by CIPE, indicate national support for reducing barriers to education, and a shift away from agriculture among younger Ghanaians.

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Democracy that Delivers #91: Hudson Hollister on how Open Data Supports Accountability and Business Opportunities

From left: guest host Ryan Musser with podcast guest Hudson Hollister

Hudson Hollister quit his congressional job in 2012 and used his retirement savings to found The Data Coalition.  His mission: to make U.S. government spending information more transparent and publicly available.  The Data Coalition successfully pushed for new laws requiring federal agencies to release key financial figures on one internet site and use the same format.

Despite some big implementation challenges, Hollister says the requirements make government leaders more accountable to the public and provide new business opportunities to the private sector.  In this week’s podcast, Hollister outlines next steps and new value propositions for entrepreneurs.  CIPE’s Ryan Musser provides a global perspective, sharing his experiences about coalition building among competing businesses in Africa.

Visit the Data Coalition website for more information, news, events, and updates.

See also our recent CIPE project surrounding Open Internet.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.

How Mobile Surveys are Democratizing Data Collection in Africa

Mobile networks are revamping African infrastructure. While increasing connectivity is creating opportunities for economic growth and social inclusion, the digital economy will be hard-pressed to deliver on these opportunities through connectivity alone.

Businesses and governments need access to information about what stakeholders think, want, and need. This information allows businesses and governments to define and fill existing gaps in policy and service delivery in order to take advantage of opportunities presented by the digital economy. In the past, poor infrastructure made it expensive to collect this information, but mobile phones are reshaping the landscape.

Surveys administered via mobile phone are lowering the barriers to data collection by providing cheaper, faster ways to conduct public opinion research. In doing so, they can be an effective tool to increase access to information for small business and civil society groups, allowing these groups to take a greater leadership role in developing services and proposing policy solutions.

What are some advantages of mobile surveys?

Mobile surveys are short questionnaires administered via pre-recorded voice, SMS, or web by mobile survey companies such as VOTO Mobile or GeoPoll. They take less time to develop and administer than a paper survey and tend to be considerably less expensive.

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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.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.

 

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #78: Omowumi Gbadamosi on Economic and Democratic Progress in Nigeria

From left: podcast guest Omowumi Gbadamosi with guest host Lars Benson, and host Ken Jaques.

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, CIPE’s Country Director in Nigeria, Omowumi Gbadamosi, discusses economic and democratic progress in Nigeria. Gbadamosi began her career with CIPE in 1988, and the most dramatic change she has seen in the last thirty years is the transformation in Nigeria from a military dictatorship to a democracy.

Gbadamosi believes the Nigerian government is now listening to the needs of the private sector, but the government needs to learn to respond. She is optimistic about Nigeria’s future as CIPE’s partners have continued to push for reforms.

Her advice to Nigeria’s private sector is to be resilient. Gbadamosi says working with the public sector can be dispiriting; it is essential for those in the private sector to stay persistent because advocacy is a continual process.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.

 

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #75: Mark Oxley and Henry LaGue On Economic Progress in Zimbabwe

2011 CIPE Workshop in Zimbabwe

Henry LaGue sits down in the field with Mark Oxley, a CIPE consultant in Zimbabwe.

Oxley explains how he became involved with the country’s National Chamber of Commerce and CIPE, and he discusses the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. Specifically, the country has a large number of highly educated individuals who are either unemployed or working in the informal sector. Despite economic difficulties, there are opportunities for investing in the country’s infrastructure and tourism.

LaGue provides an update on the accomplishments of the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). CIPE supports WABAZ in building partnerships and networks among women entrepreneurs. CIPE also works with WABAZ to raise awareness on funding opportunities available to women entrepreneurs.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.