Nepal has been in the midst of an extended political transition for nearly half a decade. Following the 1996-2006 civil war, the monarchy was abolished and then in 2008, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (the Maoists) emerged as the largest political party in the country’s first-ever elections for parliament, called the Constituent Assembly (CA). The CA’s main task was to promulgate a new constitution for Nepal, but after repeated attempts, the body failed to deliver.
Posted in South Asia
Until 2011, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was not a known term in Pakistan. In 2011, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) initiated events engaging university students and teachers in debates during GEW. To provide wider outreach, these events were organized in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce.
This year CIPE also wrote to over 70 universities and 140 business associations around Pakistan and provided information about GEW and how they can be part of this global celebration of entrepreneurship. These efforts have resulted in more independently-held events in the country.
While speaking at a joint event organized by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce, CIPE, and GEW in Islamabad, Country Representative for GEW Kahif M. Khan said that:
“Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week in Pakistan is a new phenomenon. I appreciate the role of CIPE in starting GEW activities three years ago. This now is becoming a movement. Until last year, a lot of activities were donor funded. The good news is that this year a number of organizations celebrated GEW in Pakistan through their own resources.”
The inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus
By CIPE Kabul Staff
On November 16, CIPE capped off over two years of work by organizing the inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus. This new body will be a platform to focus on economic policymaking, promoting investment, creating jobs and promoting the rule of law and good governance in the country. The meeting, held at the Serena Hotel in Kabul, brought together 18 Members of Parliament (MPs) and eight representatives of leading business associations to discuss issues of concern to the business community, and ways in which the private sector and MPs can work together to make sure that Afghanistan passes key legislation to spur private sector development.
Attendees included Mirwais Yasini, First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Sayed Ikram, First Secretary of the Parliament, Mir Rahman Rahmani, Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Parliament, and MP Ramazan Jumazada. Private sector participants represented FACT, the Afghan Builders’ Association, the Industrialists’ Association, the Fruit Exporters’ Association, the Carpet Exporters’ Guild, the Afghan Chamber, and the Peace Through Business Network – a new women’s association.
CIPE Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Programs Andrew Wilson offered welcoming remarks, congratulated the participants on the successful launch of the Business Caucus. He remarked that “The promotion of the private sector is critical for creating employment opportunities, economic growth and the development of Afghanistan.” He also affirmed CIPE’s support for, and cooperation with, the Business Caucus. CIPE Kabul staff – Mohammad Nasib, Mohammad Naim, and Ibrahim Hassan – served as moderators, and talked about CIPE-supported National Business Agenda (NBA) and the effort to create the Caucus.
Samriddhi Foundation, a Kathmandu based think tank, ran a crowdfunding campaign from April 30 to May 30, 2013, on Indiegogo to support a research and advocacy campaign that would conduct a study on Kirana Pasals – small mom and pop shops selling groceries and fast moving consumer goods, which are typical to Nepal and few other South Asian nations. Atlas Network agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar. Watch the video that Samriddhi created for this campaign here.
People who have lived in Nepal long enough have often noticed that these small enterprises, Kirana Pasals, rarely grow to become medium or large operations, like department stores or supermarkets. The study was designed to find out what prevented the growth of these independent businesses, which are run by entrepreneurial and hardworking people, and to conduct advocacy focused on recommendations formulated on the basis of this research.
By the end of May 30, 2013, the campaign had become successful and we were able to raise the target amount of $7,500 (matched with an additional $7,500 from Atlas Network). And during the month-long period, we learned a lot about this great tool that enabled us to take another step in promoting entrepreneurship and economic development in Nepal.
The great thing about a crowdfunding campaign is the easy interaction between the supporters and the organization which allows greater transparency for the supporters to see where their money is going and who will it benefit directly. The communication process is simple and flexible and promises more accountability. However, crowdfunding is not necessarily as easy as it seems. Some of the lessons we recall from the experience are:
In September, Pakistan passed an important democratic milestone: its first peaceful handover of power from one elected government to another, breaking the long cycle of coups and military dictatorship the country has suffered through since its independence.
This moment was a long time in the making, the culmination of many efforts by many different segments of society. Could the slow-and-steady transition be a model for other countries to follow?
Low primary and secondary enrollment for girls threatens Pakistan’s economic future. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The World Economic Forum has once again put Pakistan at the bottom of its index ranking “gender gaps” in economics, politics, education, and health. Last year, Pakistan ranked 132 out of 134 countries, down from 127 the year before. This year there is no change in the overall ranking, however the report suggests that the state of gender-based biases in Pakistan remains abominable — and worse, stagnant.
While women make up over 51 of the population in Pakistan, only 3 percent of women participate actively in the economy. Thanks to CIPE efforts in 2006, Pakistani women now have the right to form business associations, and as a result there are eight registered women business associations in the country. Additionally, every chamber in Pakistan now has to elect two women members to its board. But gender equality is still a major issue in the country. The recent Gender Gap Report also mentions that while the gap between men and women has narrowed slightly in most countries during the past year, Pakistan still ranks the lowest in Asia and the Pacific region.