Category Archives: South Asia

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #10: Accountability Lab’s Blair Glencorse Talks About Engaging Youth to Build a Movement for Integrity

Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with Blair Glencorse (center)

In this week’s podcast, Executive Director of the Accountability Lab (@accountlab) Blair Glencorse talks about why accountability is important and how his organization is building a generational movement for integrity.

Glencorse discusses youth-driven approaches to building accountability and transparency in governance, using technology and popular culture to engage youth, and how the highly popular Integrity Idol television show celebrates honest government officials in Nepal.

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!

Sparking Debate on Economic Policy in Nepal

Samriddhi wins an award at the Asia Liberty Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Samriddhi wins an award at the Asia Liberty Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

By Sarita Sapkota, Samriddhi

In the annual Asia Liberty Forum in Malaysia this year, Atlas Network presented the Asia Liberty Award to Samriddhi for its ‘Econ-ity’ initiative. As part of Atlas’ Regional Liberty Awards, The Asia Liberty Award recognizes think tanks within the Atlas Network that have made important contributions to improving the landscape for enterprise and entrepreneurship in their regions. Through the award, Econ-ity was specially appreciated for the success it has brought about in advocating for and having an impact on energy sector reforms and investment policy reforms in the area of foreign investment in Nepal.

These reform efforts include pressuring the government to remove the minimum investment requirement in its recent foreign investment policies to allow small entrepreneurs to receive smaller investments and technology transfer from foreign companies as well as the establishment of a hydropower trade agreement with India that creates a more optimistic environment for investors in the sector. CIPE has been partnering with Samriddhi on several research and advocacy projects in both areas over the years.

Read More…

Democracy That Delivers Podcast: #7 Sameer Lalwani on Security Issues in South Asia

Sameer Lalwani (center) with podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson.

Deputy Director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center Sameer Lalwani (@splalwani) discusses how counterinsurgency and state-building efforts interact with issues of governance and economic development in South Asia.

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!

Women Entrepreneurs Changing the Game in South Asia #IWD2016

Participants at a Women's Business Network meeting in Nepal in 2014.

Participants at a Women’s Business Network meeting in Nepal in 2014.

Here at CIPE, we are celebrating International Women’s Day by highlighting the achievements of the South Asia Regional Women’s Network, an informal group of 31 inspiring and empowered women from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Members of the network are business leaders and owners, board members, and senior managers who represent organizations with membership figures ranging from 100 direct members to nearly 4,000 members in Bangladesh.

They are women who have overcome great obstacles to build their careers, and their businesses, and are now giving back to other women seeking to do the same thing by building the capacity of their organization pushing for policy reform. Over the last four years, the network has come together nearly ten times to exchange information and best practices, to establish mentorship links between weaker and stronger organizations, and to build relationships between women in business, as well as between entire organizations, across the region.

Not long after the launch of this program, these organizations have grown in strength and numbers and have seen solid advocacy successes that have started to reshape economic policy, easing the burden of doing business for women and improving access to credit helping women to scale their businesses and bring more women into the workforce.

Read More…

A Way Forward for Afghanistan’s Economy

Presentation of the Herat PBA in Herat City. (Photo: CIPE Afghanistan)

Presentation of the Herat PBA in Herat City. (Photo: CIPE Afghanistan)

In many respects, 2015 was the most significant year in Afghanistan since the beginning of the international military presence in 2001, as Afghan National Security Forces took full control of counterinsurgency operations, and the National Unity Government (NUG) of President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah assumed power.  However, the year ended on a bleak note, with civilian casualties reaching an all-time high, the Taliban regaining control of the most territory they have held since November 2001, and political infighting continuing to paralyze the NUG’s proposed economic reform program.

In November of last year, the Asia Foundation released its annual Survey of the Afghan People, which compiles the views of more than 75,000 Afghan men and women on major issues key to the country’s social, economic, and political development. The results reflect the immense levels of upheaval and change the country has gone through in the past year, with only 36.7 percent of respondents stating that they believed their country was moving in the right direction, the lowest level of optimism over the past decade.

While the increased levels of violence, and the resurgence of the Taliban and other armed opposition groups have certainly been a key contributing factor in this loss of confidence, the most frequently cited local problem among those surveyed was not insecurity, but unemployment and lack of economic opportunity.

Read More…

Ten Years of Expanding Opportunity in Pakistan

Women entrepreneurs celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week in Pakistan.

Women entrepreneurs celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week in Pakistan.

How far has Pakistan come? And how much further is there to go? This month, we mark the 10th anniversary of CIPE’s office in Pakistan by asking these questions.

At the time that CIPE opened its Karachi office, then-President Pervez Musharraf had installed a technocratic government and had liberalized the media, setting the scene for change in Pakistan. CIPE recognized the opportunity for deep change, and made a commitment to supporting that reform process through a major new program working with the business community, civil society and media. CIPE sought to open space for the private sector and civil society to have a greater say in policymaking, and to hold the government accountable for its promises.

Read More…

Regional Business Network Brings Together Women Entrepreneurs from Across South Asia

women's group

Read more about the Women’s Business Network in a five-part blog series published earlier this year.

Women across South Asia face myriad challenges when it comes to participating in the economy — especially as business owners. Women’s business organizations can help their members learn from each other, overcome barriers, and push for changes to laws and regulations that work against women entrepreneurs.

This August, CIPE held its eighth in an ongoing series of capacity building and networking workshops in Kathmandu, Nepal for its South Asia regional network of women’s business associations. Since its inception, the participants of this network, which includes organizations from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India, have been enthusiastic and engaged in learning from both CIPE and their peers.

This year, building on the results of previous projects that aimed to strengthen the internal capacity of these organizations, CIPE has focused on building the advocacy skills of the participants, in order for women entrepreneurs’ voices to be heard in the policymaking process.  

Read More…