Tag Archives: advocacy

Ghana’s Growing Pains: Young People’s Economic Priorities Differ from Government’s Plans

Ghana’s disconnect between the government’s focus on agriculture and young people’s desire for better-quality jobs poses an obstacle to democracy and economic development.

Ghana’s millennial generation wants a change to the status quo, and with 57 percent of the country’s population under the age of 25, it is time for leaders to take note. The new government hopes that strengthening the agriculture sector will help to create jobs and combat youth unemployment. However, the government may have to convince young Ghanaians that focusing on agriculture is the right solution, according to a national survey sponsored by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The country’s economic landscape is changing, and with increasing connectivity and the rise of Accra as a regional hub, young people will not be content with their parents’ agricultural jobs. Instead, they want stable work that benefits from the promises of a transitioning economy.

In Ghana, the disconnect between opportunities presented by the government and the type of jobs that young people want poses a major obstacle to democracy and economic development. Education holds the promise of access to better jobs, and the government will be under pressure to deliver these jobs as more of the country’s youth reach working age. What constitutes a quality job for young Ghanaians? For now, the answer does not seem to lie in agricultural jobs. In order to respond to the needs of Ghanaian millennials and support economic growth and transition, it is an increasingly important question to ask.

Cocoa is a top export of West African countries, including Ghana.

Since taking office in early 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has launched five policy initiatives to support agriculture, education access, and job creation, and foster a business-friendly environment. Following Akufo-Addo’s election victory in December of 2016, CIPE and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Ghana conducted a national survey of Ghanaians’ top policy priorities. VOTO Mobile administered the survey via cell phone in March 2017 to 1,641 people across Ghana’s 10 regions. The survey results, as interpreted by CIPE, indicate national support for reducing barriers to education, and a shift away from agriculture among younger Ghanaians.

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Democracy that Delivers #91: Hudson Hollister on how Open Data Supports Accountability and Business Opportunities

From left: guest host Ryan Musser with podcast guest Hudson Hollister

Hudson Hollister quit his congressional job in 2012 and used his retirement savings to found The Data Coalition.  His mission: to make U.S. government spending information more transparent and publicly available.  The Data Coalition successfully pushed for new laws requiring federal agencies to release key financial figures on one internet site and use the same format.

Despite some big implementation challenges, Hollister says the requirements make government leaders more accountable to the public and provide new business opportunities to the private sector.  In this week’s podcast, Hollister outlines next steps and new value propositions for entrepreneurs.  CIPE’s Ryan Musser provides a global perspective, sharing his experiences about coalition building among competing businesses in Africa.

Visit the Data Coalition website for more information, news, events, and updates.

See also our recent CIPE project surrounding Open Internet.

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.

How Mobile Surveys are Democratizing Data Collection in Africa

Mobile networks are revamping African infrastructure. While increasing connectivity is creating opportunities for economic growth and social inclusion, the digital economy will be hard-pressed to deliver on these opportunities through connectivity alone.

Businesses and governments need access to information about what stakeholders think, want, and need. This information allows businesses and governments to define and fill existing gaps in policy and service delivery in order to take advantage of opportunities presented by the digital economy. In the past, poor infrastructure made it expensive to collect this information, but mobile phones are reshaping the landscape.

Surveys administered via mobile phone are lowering the barriers to data collection by providing cheaper, faster ways to conduct public opinion research. In doing so, they can be an effective tool to increase access to information for small business and civil society groups, allowing these groups to take a greater leadership role in developing services and proposing policy solutions.

What are some advantages of mobile surveys?

Mobile surveys are short questionnaires administered via pre-recorded voice, SMS, or web by mobile survey companies such as VOTO Mobile or GeoPoll. They take less time to develop and administer than a paper survey and tend to be considerably less expensive.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #83: Jeffrey Smith on Political Change in Gambia

From left: podcast guest Jeffrey Smith, guest host Toni Weis and host Ken Jaques

This week’s guest is Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a startup nonprofit that provides campaign advice and public relations support to pro-democracy leaders in Africa.

Smith aims to bring the international spotlight to Gambia, which is recovering from a more than two-decades-long dictatorship. Political and civil rights were nonexistent during the presidency of Yahya Jammeh, a former military officer who ruled the country from 1994 to 2016. Vanguard Africa partnered with Gambia’s presidential candidates in 2016 to campaign against Jammeh, who lost the election.

Despite this accomplishment, Smith says Vanguard Africa’s work in Gambia is unfinished; a country cannot transition from dictatorship to democracy overnight. The nonprofit is now focused on holding the new government accountable. To aide with the transition, CIPE has partnered with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a national business council for the private sector.

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.

 

Confronting Corruption in Asia’s New Democracies

Corruption is detrimental to countries’ economies because it leads to reduced productivity, high unemployment, and poverty. In addition to the economic cost, corruption corrodes democracies by weakening citizens’ confidence in their governments. This distrust and disenfranchisement can drive people to join extremist groups. “In conflict-affected areas, especially where Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State are trying to set up shop, economic grievances make it much easier to recruit local nationals into their fight,” commented Jennifer Anderson, CIPE’s senior program officer for South Asia. “Not only is corruption debilitating democracy in Afghanistan, it’s also leading to recruitment. Right now in Afghanistan, the Taliban has either control or influence over 40 percent of the country.”

Anderson spoke in a CIPE panel discussion in July that examined the issue of corruption in Asia, with a focus on Afghanistan and Cambodia. Other panelists included experts from CIPE’s Asia Department; the Hudson Institute; and SILAKA, a Cambodian nonprofit organization.

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Improving Afghanistan’s Economy from the Bottom Up

Lead farmer Abdul Rahman with grapes. Afghanistan. 2008.
Photo: © Nicholas Bertrand / TAIMANI FILMS / WORLD BANK via Flickr

CIPE and the local Afghan business community teamed up to develop an initiative that is helping to spur economic growth and create jobs in the provinces. Driven entirely by the provincial business communities in Nangarhar, Kandahar, Balk, and Herat, CIPE’s Provincial Business Agenda (PBA) program has produced a wide range of results that improve the local business climate, which has suffered setbacks in recent years. In areas far from Kabul, the economy has been particularly hard-hit by a drastic reduction in international development spending since 2014, resulting in a huge increase in unemployment in the provinces. This has caused many Afghans who were previously employed by the military and international donors to move to Kabul to look for work—or to leave their country out of desperation to earn a living.

CIPE started working at the provincial level in 2008, but has stepped up its efforts since 2014 as its role has become increasingly vital. CIPE works with home-grown, provincial-level small businesses to identify the day-to-day problems Afghans face when trying to start or grow their businesses, which leads to the creation of more jobs. CIPE takes the bottom-up approach in Afghanistan. We do not create business associations, because in CIPE’s experience, the local business community views donor-created business associations as inauthentic. We work with associations and chambers that formed because the business community came together out of the innate understanding that there is safety in numbers and power in collective action. Given the context of decades of war, continuing violence and deep-rooted ills, removing the obstacles caused by poor governance is a reasonable starting point for a country as complex and as dangerous as Afghanistan. Creating an environment that is friendlier to small businesses is a good first step towards improving the overall economy.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #71: Joshua Muwanguzi and Derrick Magoola Discuss How Entrepreneurship Changes Lives

Students from Ndejje University in Uganda participating in an Entrepreneurship Club training in 2015

On a recent trip to Uganda, Henry LaGue, CIPE Program Officer for Africa, and Ryan Musser, CIPE Assistant Program Officer for Africa, sat down with two CIPE-supported entrepreneurship club graduates to discuss how the skills they learned through the club has helped them become successful. The conversation covers how the guests took what they learned in the club to start their own businesses and tackle the challenges they have faced along the way.

In a discussion led by interviewer LaGue, Muwanguzi talks about how his work as a youth advocate helps Ugandan youth to develop the skills to be successful in life and business. Magoola describes how he established his real estate marketing agency. They also discuss the high number of informal businesses in Uganda and the role of entrepreneurship training in helping aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to establish sustainable businesses in the formal economy.

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