Category Archives: Global

Democracy that Delivers #76: Christina Bain on the Role Business and Entrepreneurship Play in Combatting Human Trafficking

From left: podcast guest Christina Bain, with hosts Kim Bettcher and Ken Jaques

Christina Bain, director of the Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at Babson College in Massachusetts, discusses the role of business and entrepreneurship in combatting human trafficking.

As a college professor, Bain teaches her students about the types of human trafficking and how to prevent trafficking in their respective fields.

In addition, Bain raises awareness of human trafficking among high school students in the Boston region. Babson’s Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery launched the Human Freedom Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in 2016. The program visits schools where students are more vulnerable to trafficking and aims to train and inspire the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs to fight human trafficking. The program has proven successful. For example, two high school students have created a program to educate preteen girls about the dangers of the Internet.

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How Good Governance Got a Bad Name – and Why Governance Still Matters

Local leaders in the city of Talisay in the Philippines used CIPE partner the Institute of Solidarity in Asia’s performance governance system (PGS) to harness the city’s tourism-, agriculture-, and location-based strengths to reshape development and ensure sustainability through community involvement.

At CIPE, we’re accustomed to examining problems of democratic and economic development through a governance lens. We wonder how entrepreneurs can possibly succeed when the policy and regulatory environment is stacked against them. We wonder how good policy and regulation can be made without input and feedback from affected constituencies. We wonder what the point of policy is if government cannot be counted on to implement it. To address these problems of the enabling environment and government performance, we look for systemic change.

Not everyone thinks this way and many are frustrated by the demands and promises of good governance recommendations. They want to see immediate, tangible results from development. They see places where Western-style reforms have not delivered and other places that have done well economically despite a lack of rule of law or freedom. They see obstacles to fixing governance and wonder if it’s worth the effort.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #73: Majdi Hassen on Economic Reform Initiatives in Tunisia

Podcast guest Majdi Hassen and guest host Anna Kompanek

On this week’s Democracy the Delivers podcast, Institut arabe des chefs d’entreprises (IACE) Executive Director Majdi Hassen talks with CIPE’s Anna Kompanek about the economic reform initiatives his organization is undertaking in Tunisia. IACE is an independent, non-profit think tank based in Tunis. Since Tunisia’s revolution, Hassen has overseen IACE’s growth into a “think-and-do” tank that plays a vital role in convening diverse political and civic actors to discuss urgent economic problems.

Hassen has developed a series of IACE programs designed to bring leadership skills and civic awareness to young entrepreneurs, policymakers, and stakeholders in Tunisia. He has been instrumental in organizing IACE’s Enterprise Days, Tunisia’s biggest economic forum, which gathers over 1,000 national and international policymakers, business leaders, and experts to discuss critical private sector issues.

Kompanek and Hassen discuss a public-private dialogue effort – the National Business Agenda – that has brought together voices in the business community to provide the government with constructive recommendations for economic reform. They also discuss a hotline that has been set up in Tunisia to help local businesses deal with red tape and bureaucratic hurdles.

Learn more about IACE’s work: http://www.iace.tn/

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President Reagan’s Call for a Campaign for Democracy Still Applies Today

By Andrew Wilson, Managing Director, Center for International Private Enterprise

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

When President Reagan delivered his Westminster address to Members of the British Parliament 35 years ago today, he predicted the downfall of the Soviet Union and called for a campaign to support democracy around the globe. What Reagan could not have predicted when he made that famous speech was that his campaign to support democracy would be as needed in 2017 as it was in 1982.

The violent extremism, conflict between states, unequal economic opportunity, and migration crises afflicting the world today are causing some to question the continued viability of the liberal-democratic values that Reagan championed. The belief that democracy, economic freedom and rule of law provide the “not so-secret sauce” for sustainable human progress is being openly questioned in capitals around the world.

In a results-based world we should be ready to scrutinize liberal-democracy’s track record.

To be certain, one outcome of liberal democracy – globalization- has done an impressive job of alleviating human suffering in the last quarter century.  Our global health indicators, poverty reduction goals, and literacy rates all figure in the plus column.  Societies are more resilient when disaster strikes, and the emergence of global standards on labor, environment, and anti-corruption are all leading to a more ethical and sustainable development pattern driven by the private sector.

However, while strides have been made to ensure a basic level of human existence, many societies still fail to provide their people with a path to a better life. In many countries citizens live in a world of governance failures and inequalities perpetuated by vested interests, corrupt elites, and authoritarians who understand that broad-based opportunity threatens their status-quo.  Indeed, if we look at where we see the greatest threats to global stability we see the hand of corrupt authoritarians, be that in the Middle-East, Venezuela, or Russian aggression in Ukraine.

It’s notable that those regimes most likely to cause instability are those which are quickest to point towards liberal democracy as the cause of the world’s problems. Our cold war of times past, in which liberal democracy and communism fought for supremacy, has been replaced by a new war in which our values are now questioned by those whose only ideology is that of authoritarianism and kleptocracy.

Looking back on the experience of the last 35 years, many of the world’s problems don’t stem from the failure of liberal democracy, rather a failure to more actively pursue its consolidation, and ensure that the economic and social benefits of democracy penetrated throughout societies.  As the causes of disorder are man-made, so are the solutions.  Support for economic development overseas must continue its emphasis on getting governance right, providing opportunity for all to participate in an economic life, and encouraging open societies to reinforce values and institutions that include respect for property as a human right, free media, and democratic space.

When governments get these things right, all citizens benefit. The proof of this lays in what we can take from the current migration crisis in the Mediterranean.  Migrants making the perilous boat journey to Italy’s southern shores are not coming from Tunisia where a democratically oriented government seeks to build democratic consensus on economic growth, but from its neighbors where poor governance and lack of opportunity drive desperate people to do desperate things. Tunisia shows us that the goals of the Arab spring, when consolidated in democratic values can bring relative stability. Tunisia’s goal now is to wring greater economic opportunity from the governance and democratic strides made by a revolution whose roots lay in economic discontent.

Globalization must also come to represent opportunity for all – technology, such as EBay and other online trading platforms, is breaking down international barriers to trade for micro and small entrepreneurs, and the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, if enforced, will smash non-tariff barriers that keep the little guys from trading across borders.

A quarter century of democracy support has shown that the most effective path forward is not to export nation building, or embrace foreign models, but rather to support and encourage the development of local voices for reform, and domestic expertise that can guide societies on their own path to good governance.  In many countries these brave voices are now at risk, as years of neglect have led to their increasing isolation and in many cases repression.  These are the world’s authentic voices of moderation, they alone are in a place to counter local extremism, advocate for opportunity, and chart paths for good governance.

While not always perfect, liberal democracy offers the most sustainable and equitable path to confronting the challenges facing the world, and it’s the best way we know to create long lasting jobs. An employed and prosperous people rarely resort to violent extremism, conflict, or emigration. For our government to reach its policy goals, it would be well served to look to the wisdom of Ronald Reagan who understood that markets and democracy were the best responses to the challenge of his time, and are timeless in their relevance today.

Reaffirming the Euro-Atlantic Commitment to Democracy and Private Enterprise

Protesters at the March for Europe protest on July the 2nd, 2016 in London.

The outpouring of anti-globalist sentiments from both right and left in many western democracies is teaching those of us who support a global economic architecture many valuable lessons on how we should look toward reforming our international institutions of trade and finance. The rise of nationalism and populism in western democracies is a reaction to the perceived loss of sovereignty and economic exclusion that many ordinary citizens have felt as a result of the growth of transnational institutions, be they the European Union, the World Trade Organization, or more focused initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In reaction, citizens have been reclaiming their desire for sovereign power through exercising their democratic franchise at national polls, especially in the Euro-Atlantic family. Whether a backlash to Brussel’s Euro-bureaucracy through Brexit and the rise of populism in Central Europe or the increasing influence of anti-globalization politics within both U.S. political parties, we need to recognize that these assertions of political will are legitimate forms of grievance. While we may be disheartened by the message at times, we must at least take heart that these grievances play themselves out in a democratic process (albeit one that seems increasingly under fire). In essence, citizens are using their local ballot boxes to push back at international institutions that they otherwise feel powerless to influence.

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Ethics, Compliance, and Oversight in International Development: Lessons from the UK

Photo Credit: DFID (via Flickr)

Although the international development community aspires to noble ends, the firms and organizations therein are not free from the same ethical lapses that can befall corporations with more naked profit motives. Adam Smith International (ASI), the largest international development contractor for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), can attest to that point. In February 2017, ASI suffered a major blow when DfID froze all future contracts with ASI after uncovering unethical behavior on the part of ASI. These firm-specific compliance issues open up abroader conversation about the roles of ethics, compliance, and the public in international development.

ASI earned their DfID sanction by hiring an ex-DfID employee who then used their access to proprietary DfID documents to help ASI gain inside information into how to win DfID contracts. ASI also sought to influence the results of parliamentary hearings by engineering the content in letters of support from its beneficiaries. In both of these cases, ASI sought to cover up their wrongdoing with more deception. Taken together, these cover-ups revealed a toxic culture that had been given the time and space to fester.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #68: Stone Conroy on How Business Associations Can Help With Peacebuilding

Left: Guest Stone Conroy, with hosts Jenny Anderson and Julie Johnson

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships at the Alliance for Peacebuilding Stone Conroy discusses the processes and vehicles that organizations can use to resolve conflict. He also discusses the need to engage a wide range of players in these efforts including businesses, non-profits, governments, the media, military, academia, and others. Conroy also talks about the drivers behind conflict, and identifies “a sense of injustice” as one of the most powerful forces for dissatisfaction that can lead to violence.

Conroy describes situations in both Nigeria and Northern Ireland where business and business associations were the key to building peace and conflict resolution. He talks about the convening power of business associations and how they can gather a wide range of stakeholders to address a conflict situation. Lastly, he discusses a new, cutting-edge Alliance project bringing together peacebuilders, spiritual leaders and neuroscientists to look at how the brain can be “rewired” to be more peaceful. Pilot projects are planned for Minneapolis, Chicago, and in Bogota, Colombia.

Learn more about the Alliance for Peacebuilding here and follow Stone on Twitter @Stone_Conroy.

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