Category Archives: Africa

How Kenya’s Private Sector is Addressing the “Supply Side” of Corruption

Photo: Citizen Digital

Photo: Citizen Digital

A recent report by Kenya’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) paints a rather grim picture of the extent of corruption in Kenya. In the top 10 counties by average bribe size, bribes range from KSH 80,000 (about $800 US) to about KSH 6,000 ($60 US) — in a country where the average monthly wage is just $76. Situations where bribes are most commonly solicited include obtaining basic services such as medical attention or a national identity card. Not surprisingly, Transparency International puts Kenya at 139th out of 168 countries in its latest corruption ranking.

Even a cursory review of Kenyan daily news coverage shows that corruption at all levels (from county to national) and in all its forms (from bribes to graft) is a major issue of concern for the country. Many commentators express frustration at the extent of the problem and the dearth of constructive solutions. Against that background, CIPE and its partner organization, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), are working to help change Kenya’s corruption-tainted narrative and provide the private sector with tools to proactively build integrity into business operations.

To that end, CIPE, KAM, and Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK), where KAM serves as the secretariat, created a joint training program for Kenyan companies on anti-corruption compliance. The training is based on CIPE’s Anti-Corruption Compliance: A Guide for Mid-Sized Companies in Emerging Markets and was adapted to the unique needs and concerns of local businesses. As KAM’s Chairman Pradeep Paunrana put it, “You cannot clap with one hand, it takes two people to make a corrupt deal.” Through this initiative, Kenya’s private sector is taking responsibility for holding itself to a higher standard and disrupting the “supply side” of corruption.

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Leave it to the Ladies: Addressing Corruption Head-on to Attract Foreign Investment in Africa

Photo: U.S. Department of State

Photo: U.S. Department of State

This post originally appeared on CIPE’s Corporate Compliance Trends blog.

Despite the thick Lagos air and long journey 60 women entered the The Moorhouse hotel on a recent Saturday morning, exchanging excited greetings and fresh ideas. Women business leaders adorned in brightly colored fabric and empowered with strong ambitions went around the room introducing themselves and their businesses.

It was the inaugural meeting of the Lagos chapter of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), launched by the U.S. Department of State in July 2010 to assist women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa. The program supports African women entrepreneurs to promote business growth, increase trade both regionally and to U.S. markets, create better business environments, and empower African women entrepreneurs to become voices of change in their communities.

Although AWEP in Nigeria initially started as a group of women’s businesses in agriculture, the members now represent a variety of sectors including fashion, textiles, professional services, cosmetics, and home decor.  Since AWEP’s inception, chapters such as the Lagos chapter have started all over Africa bringing together 1,600 women entrepreneurs and 33 business associations across the continent creating over 17,000 jobs.

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Profiting from Parity: The Business Case for Gender Integration in Value Chains

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Photo: BURN Clean Cookstoves

Sustainable Development Goal 5 set the bar to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” by 2030. Closing gender gaps in work and society could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey Global Institute. This figure underscores the socioeconomic importance as well as global economic potential available if we achieve gender parity, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day Forum led by the United Nations and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

The Forum is an annual, collective effort to convene government, private sector, and civil society and “put on our gender glasses” as one participant descriptively put it. Humbly, many stakeholders – both public and private – admitted this year that the data necessary to establish a baseline to then track our advancement towards this goal of gender parity remains either poor or non-existent. Examining both global value chains and individual business models through a gender lens allows for a foundation of knowledge that helps provide a clear understanding of how strategies and operations are influencing women’s empowerment.

Among the many conversations taking place during what should more aptly be named International Women’s Month, I found the dialogue around gender integration into business model and value chains particularly exciting. Encouragingly, more and more businesses are realizing that social impact and business profit do not always occur at the expense of one another. Not every company may aspire to be a social enterprise, but every company can become more gender inclusive by integrating women in product design, manufacturing, production, sales, and distribution channels within its value chain. In fact those that are integrating gender are, in turn, becoming more competitive. Companies from SMEs to multinationals can now tap into these social and economic impacts by adapting these lessons learned in the following areas into their own business models and value chains.

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Surviving in Economic Crisis: A Nigerian Woman Entrepreneur’s Story

Pat Agbakwu-Ajegwu in front of her store.

Pat Agbakwu-Ajegwu in front of her store.

“As a business owner, you either choose to survive or die. And surviving in this state of economic crisis in Nigeria requires creative thinking.”

On my recent trip to Lagos, Nigeria, I spoke with Patricia (Pat) Agbakwu -Ajegwu, the owner of Xklusive Patsie and the former president of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria. She shared with me some challenges that women entrepreneurs in Nigeria are facing in midst of economic turmoil.

Since the peak in 2014, the global price of oil has decreased by over 70 percent. As a result, petrostates like Nigeria, which relies on oil sales for 75 percent of government revenue and 95 percent of its export earnings, are hurting. This is especially felt by small business owners in Nigeria.

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Promoting Advocacy with Technology

panoply

By Lauren Dawes, Panoply Digital

This blog post was originally published by Panoply Digital, who are helping CIPE partners around the world improve their digital capabilities.

In a previous blog, Michael wrote about the work we have been doing with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) for almost a year now – developing a training programme to teach partners of CIPE’s network how to better communicate and carry out their advocacy efforts via the use of technology. The programme is the brainchild of Maiko Nakagaki, Programme Officer (Global) at CIPE who identified a need and opportunity to bolster their partner’s capacity to better serve their members through the integration of technology. The initial phase of our project consisted of surveys and in-depth interviews to assist us in identifying several high-need countries to conduct the training workshops. The first of those, Nigeria, took place on February 15-16 where I was hosted by the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN) to deliver four modules: Research, Polling and Tracking, Communication, and Online Presence.

Many of the ANWBN coalition was represented across the two days including International Women Society of Nigeria (IWSN), Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON), and NACCIMA Women Wing (NAWOG). The training consisted of live demos and hands on activities which was great fun given the how keen the group was to learn. Of course there were the obvious concerns when preparing to deliver the training – limited bandwidth and power outages being the main ones – but the internet held strong and the outages kindly timed themselves with our scheduled breaks! One of the key outcomes was to ensure that there would be uptake of some of the tools that we trained the attendees on. For that to be a viable option, they needed to be free or low-cost, require minimal bandwidth, be accessible across multiple devices and easy to implement and use. With that in mind, we opted to use a couple of Google tools: Alerts and Forms; BulkSMS and SMS Poll to cover communication and capturing data on basic devices; and Feedly.

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Small Associations as a Way to Strengthen Financial Security

By Rosino (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rosino (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hanna Rhodin

How do you go about starting a business when you lack the education or financial means? The answers often depend on the region, country, or city you live in. In early 2015 I traveled to Beira, Mozambique to volunteer with Care for Life, an NGO working with a holistic approach to assisting families in low-income communities. Part of this approach was to enable individuals to take charge of their own livelihood by establishing a small family business. This included  their work with starting associations and mutual businesses — the latter being a 10-step process which many do not know how to undertake.

Registering a business should not take more than a few weeks (or, in more developed countries, a few days), yet during the two months I was working with these associations the process proved to take longer than that. For various reasons, several did not complete it and were still working on it as I completed my time there.

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The Real Problem for Intra-African Trade

Photo: BBC / AFP

Photo: BBC / AFP

This post is continuation of a previous article on regional integration in Africa.

Reducing tariffs is a great start for increasing trade within Africa, but important non-tariff barriers (NTBs) must also be reduced in order to boost trade both within and outside of the continent. In fact, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa found the costs of NTBs in 2010 were higher than the costs of tariffs. The African Development Bank notes that, “while tariffs have progressively fallen, the key challenge to intra-African trade is non-tariff barriers that stifle the movement of goods, services and people across borders.”

What sort of non-tariff barriers exist in Africa? Infrastructure across the continent is poor, discouraging the movement of goods and people. Less than a quarter of roads are paved, and those are often filled with potholes. It’s not uncommon for airfare with a layover in Europe or Asia to be cheaper than direct intra-continental flights. Meanwhile, seaports are crumbling and rail connection is paltry.

“Thick borders” are also an issue, created by burdensome administrative procedures for clearing goods for import and export. Lines of trucks at the border lead to waits measured in days due to excessive bureaucratic red tape and burdensome administrative procedures. A report by Transparency International (TI) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) found that drivers at Rwanda-Tanzania customs stations spent an average of 72 hours obtaining customs clearance. World Bank economist Paul Brenton found that a truck serving supermarkets across a Southern Africa border may need to carry up to 1600 documents to comply with different countries’ requirements for permits, licenses, and other required paperwork.

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