Category Archives: Asia

Empowering Women: Good for Business

When I was born in Taiwan, my grandma commented “such a shame that she is not a boy!” A preference for boys was prevalent at that time—and to some extent continues today. My uncle and aunt gave up on producing a boy only after ending up with five daughters. My aunt would tear up from the talk she overheard from neighbors, accusing her of not being “filial” because she was “unable” to produce a boy. In my parents’ generation, this preference for boys skewed educational opportunity towards males.

Thankfully, I was born a time when the economy was booming, when Taiwan was modernizing rapidly, and when women’s education attainment had become a universal expectation. And so I had the opportunity to explore my own interests and make my own decisions. For extra-curriculars, I traded in the usual “girl” activities of piano lessons and painting to pursue basketball and debating—opportunities that would have been unimaginable for my grandmother, who grew up at a time when the foot binding of girls was still a condoned practice.

In Asia, women’s movements have come a long way in the past three decades. Taiwan’s first female president was sworn in last month – the first female leader in Asia whose path was not paved by a powerful male relative (President Park Geun Hye of South Korea and Daw San Suu Kyi of Burma are both daughters of powerful political dynasties).

Remarkably, Tsai’s primary opponent during much of the presidential election was also a female leader, the Vice Speaker of the Parliament (before she was replaced by her party three months before the election). Analysts believe that a quota system requiring one third of all seats in the legislature be filled by women contributes to the rise of prominent female politicians in Taiwan.

The Philippines has also seen much progress in promoting gender equality over the years. Its outgoing cabinet had the highest percentage of female members in the country’s history. Moreover, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Maria Lourdes Sereno, is the first female chief justice in Philippine history. In the most recent presidential election, Leni Robredo was elected as Vice President. Even though Senator Grace Poe lost the presidency, she was leading in the polls for more than three months . Poe emphasized the importance of economic empowerment by urging Filipino women to be financially independent of their husbands during the 8th GoNegosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit in February.

The evidence agrees with Poe. Empowering women economically produces lots of societal benefits, including higher investment in the family, education, and health. Economically empowered women also enjoy stronger awareness of their political rights and face a lower likelihood of becoming victims of domestic violence.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #14: Arian Ardie on How Indonesian Companies are Coming to Grips with Anti-Corruption Compliance

Democracy that Delivers Splash-01

CIPE Indonesia Program Coordinator Arian Ardie (Twitter: @aajkt) talks about the burgeoning Indonesian economy, foreign investment opportunities, and how Indonesian companies are coming to terms with what anti-corruption compliance means for them. Ardie also discusses the challenges of meeting cultural norms while being compliant with international business practices, and the inherent “sloppiness” of implementing decentralization and democracy in one of most populous countries in the world.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #12: CIPE’s John Morrell on Tackling Corruption — What Can Be Done to Change “Business as Usual”?

Podcast hosts  Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with John Morrell (center)

Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with John Morrell (center)

In this week’s podcast, CIPE’s Regional Director for Asia John Morrell discusses when he witnessed for the first time how lack of governance and corruption undermines democracy and how that experience shapes his work today. Morrell talks about business-led solutions to corruption challenges and a CIPE project underway in Thailand that is changing the business culture in that country. Morrell also discusses his early career experiences in the Philippines and a non-profit he founded there to support an orphanage for abandoned children.

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

Listen to past episodes of our show here.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show!

Promoting Advocacy with Technology Part 2: Two days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

tech4dem cambodia

By Micheal Gallagher, Panoply Digital

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

In an ongoing collaboration with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform, Panoply Digital recently conducted a two day technology training workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is the second training we have done in this regard, with the first being a recent event in Lagos, Nigeria which my colleague Lauren wrote about here.

The participants were from two of CIPE’s partners in the region SILAKA is an organization dedicated to promoting good governance and gender equality in rebuilding Cambodian society; nurturing networking and cooperation to engage both demand and supply sides; and sharing knowledge and experiences to help advancement Cambodian’s development, and peace building. The second,CAMFEBA (The Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations), represents the private sector with over 2,000 employers and business associations in Cambodia with legal, strategic, or training consultation.

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Association Executives Strengthen Their Profession in the Philippines

PCAAE presented its 1st ‘Ang Susi’ Awards on December 3, 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) during the gala dinner and awards night of the 3rd Association Executives Summit.

PCAAE presented its 1st ‘Ang Susi’ Awards on December 3, 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) during the gala dinner and awards night of the 3rd Association Executives Summit.

By Octavio “Bobby” Peralta

The Philippine Council for the Advancement of Association Executives (PCAAE)* was created in 2013 to facilitate the work of association executives in managing their organizations, and to advance their profession through knowledge delivery, recognition and collaboration initiatives. The PCAAE is the only platform in the Philippines that puts associations and other membership organizations such as chambers, societies, foundations, cooperatives and the non-profit sector at large under one umbrella.

Last December, PCAAE held its annual flagship event, the Third Association Executives’ Summit (AES3), in Manila gathering association professionals, managers, and leaders. The Summit focused mainly on membership-management and governance issues under the theme “Compass to Excellence” and drew 120 delegates to the Philippine International Convention Center, an impressive turnout considering how many Philippine associations’ event calendars were disrupted by the nation’s hosting of APEC 2015.

For the first time, aside from the learning tracks, a table-top exhibition on association services was concurrently held as were the “Ang Susi Awards” that recognized the achievements and contributions of associations in national sustainable development.

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Sustaining the Momentum in Thailand’s Fight Against Corruption

Photo: CAC

Photo: CAC

Corruption has been a major roadblock to a meaningful and sustaining democracy in Thailand. According to CIPE Asia Regional Director John Morrell, “corruption was the stated justification for the military’s ousting of an elected government in 2006 and the Supreme Court’s sacking of another elected government in 2008.” In Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perception Index, Thailand was ranked 85th out of 175 countries.

To address this corruption issue in Thailand within the local context, CIPE partnered with Thai Institute of Directors (IOD) and launched a Collective Action Against Corruption initiative in 2010. This project is unique in that CIPE and IOD aim to combating the supply side corruption in the private sector through a coalition of member companies, established in this initiative, which vowed to adhere to the highest standards of corporate governance, compliance, and anti-bribery protocols.

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Fighting Corruption Matters for Indonesia’s Oil and Gas Industry

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“If a company’s goal is to stay in business for a long time, why take the shortcut and pay bribes, which can damage the company in the long term?” asked Sammy Hamzah, president of Indonesian Petroleum Association, at the launch event of CIPE and International Business Links (IBL)’s new Anti-Corruption Compliance guidebook for mid-sized companies in Indonesia’s oil and gas industry.

“When a company commits a corrupt behavior, it takes on average 20 to 30 years to bring back the company’s credibility.”

Corruption is a major problem in Indonesia. According to a Gallup poll, more than 8 in 10 Indonesians say that corruption is widespread throughout the nation’s government and businesses. The oil and gas sector is particularly susceptible to corruption because of the multiple steps in the procurement and licensing processes, as well as the sheer amount of the money involved.

That’s why CIPE and IBL produced the guide. It’s intended to help mid-sized companies looking to become suppliers of local or international oil and gas companies to understand the business case for anti-corruption compliance and instruct them on how to create an internal compliance system.

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