Democracy that Delivers Podcast #77: Thida Khus on Democratization in Cambodia

From left: podcast guest Thida Khus, with hosts Sarah Yun and Ken Jaques

Thida Khus is the founder and executive director of Silaka, a non-profit organization in Cambodia.
Khus and her family migrated to the United States in 1979 to flee the Khmer Rouge regime. From 1993 to1996, she organized 80 Cambodian-Americans to move to Cambodia to counteract the lack of human resources.

Khus states that Cambodia’s government continues to suffer from corruption, lack of good governance and an unreliable justice system. She believes citizen education and government transparency are needed to see a change in the national government.

Despite the problems in the national government, Khus discusses the positive changes in local government. For the first time in local elections, an opposition party won a significant amount of votes. She credits a large population of young people and social media for the election results. She believes Cambodia’s younger generation is positioned to bring about change because younger people there do not fear war like the older generation and social media has made it easier to share information.

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Removing Barriers to Investment in Ukraine

panelists from Identifying and Removing Barriers to Investment in Ukraine

By Eric Hontz and Kathryn Walson

Three years after Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, a centralized, oligarchic power structure has once again taken hold. This has made it challenging to keep the business environment in Ukraine friendly to western investment, as the new power structure allows for increased influence from oligarchs and leads to increased corruption. Further, ongoing hostility with Russia and corruption act as a serious deterrent for western investors, which bring with them demands for higher standards in compliance, governance, and accountability from government institutions.

Because public funding alone cannot solve the country’s infrastructure problems, foreign investment into Ukrainian infrastructure is essential to the country’s ability to increase exports and gross domestic product. Despite this paradox in expectations and reality, an increase in investment in Ukraine has already begun, as Ukraine has consciously turned its efforts towards recruiting western businesses. CIPE and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council co-hosted a panel discussion in June to discuss the investment climate in Ukraine, featuring Volodymr Omelyan, Minister of Infrastructure in Ukraine; former Ambassador John E. Herbst, current Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council; and Matt London, Deputy Managing Director at Amsted Rail Russia-CIS at Amsted Rail Inc.

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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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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #75: Mark Oxley and Henry LaGue On Economic Progress in Zimbabwe

2011 CIPE Workshop in Zimbabwe

Henry LaGue sits down in the field with Mark Oxley, a CIPE consultant in Zimbabwe.

Oxley explains how he became involved with the country’s National Chamber of Commerce and CIPE, and he discusses the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. Specifically, the country has a large number of highly educated individuals who are either unemployed or working in the informal sector. Despite economic difficulties, there are opportunities for investing in the country’s infrastructure and tourism.

LaGue provides an update on the accomplishments of the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). CIPE supports WABAZ in building partnerships and networks among women entrepreneurs. CIPE also works with WABAZ to raise awareness on funding opportunities available to women entrepreneurs.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia are Critical to the Region’s Economic Growth

Women work at a chili flake production facility owned by a Nepalese woman who used to carry stones to help send her brothers to school. Her business exports chili flakes to the United Kingdom.

By Jennifer Anderson and Maria Philip

Healthy, vibrant democracies must deliver for all of their citizens. Women’s full economic participation, control over their financial circumstances, and greater decision-making power are essential to building gender-equitable political and economic systems. Moreover, it has been shown that women’s economic empowerment can have a positive multiplier effect, leading to political and economic gains that benefit society as a whole. Yet research also shows that it is insufficient to focus solely on income-generating projects for women. Rather, to empower women as equal stakeholders, it is necessary to build a gender-inclusive business-enabling environment that allows women to start and grow their own businesses.

In the evolving democracies of South Asia, the majority of women are blocked from full economic and civil participation by a range of formal and informal obstacles, including laws and regulations, and cultural and societal norms. Women in the region continue to trail their peers in other parts of the world. Indicators for women’s employment, income, and wealth in South Asia are particularly dismal, and the region is the slowest in the world to equalize laws affecting women’s employment and entrepreneurship. From 2014 to 2016, the region enacted just three reforms to increase women’s economic opportunities—the fewest reforms out of 65 economies.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #74: Mauro DaCunha on the Democratization of Capital in Brazil

From left: podcast guest Mauro DaCunha, guest host John Zemko, and host Ken Jaques

Mauro DaCunha, the chief executive officer of Brazil’s AMEC (Capital Market Investors Association), discusses the importance of democratization of capital in Brazil.

DaCunha credits CIPE’s partnership with Brazil with increasing public awareness of capital markets and its correlation with economic growth. The development of capital markets in Brazil would positively influence the country’s economy by creating job growth, opportunities for investment and a culture of equity investment.

DaCunha also talks about how corruption and distrust of businesses are hindering the development of capital markets while providing insight on what needs to take place to counteract corruption.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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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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