“But wise is the man who disdains no character, but with searching glance explores him to the root and cause of all.” — Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls
Corruption in Ukraine cuts across regions, all sectors of the economy, and almost every institution. In some sense it’s become a rallying point: since everyone is harmed by corruption, CIPE’s private sector-led, collective action approach to anticorruption in Ukraine is based on bringing the business community together to work towards common solutions.
Given that Ukraine’s business associations are among the country’s weakest civil society institutions — such associations did not exist during 70 years of Communist rule — small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are underrepresented nationally in civil society and political life. Despite this fact, Ukrainian public discourse on issues affecting the business community is vibrant and relatively open. This appears to be improving on the regional level, in part through CIPE support of business associations representing SMEs, a little more notably each year. Individual business associations, as well as eight new coalitions of associations, now work collectively at the regional level.
“We should learn from Bangladesh model where banks are forced to extend certain percentage of loans to women entrepreneurs. This easier access to finance has helped Bangladeshi women to become economically strong. Banks in Pakistan need to develop products focusing women businesses and they should begin financial literacy programmers to educate women entrepreneurs about business procedures and financial management.” – Peshawar Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Since 2006, CIPE Pakistan has been working with its partner Peshawar Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry to help them create a network of women entrepreneurs in Peshawar. The chamber started with only six members, and now has grown to over 150 active members.
Please join the Center for International Private Enterprise and Elias Dewah for a webinar discussion on public-private dialogue in Africa: July 11, 9:30-10:30 a.m. EST.
Public-private dialogue strengthens policymaking by incorporating valuable private input and creating momentum for reform. Elias M. Dewah, former Executive Director of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry, and Manpower (BOCCIM), will present key lessons and impact examples based on his experiences using public-private dialogue as an advocacy tool.
We’ll also hear about PPD programs in other countries from CIPE staff experts and partners. Register below to learn techniques in framing private sector priorities and establishing credibility with policymakers.
Mr. Dewah is currently an independent consultant in business, economic development, and democratic governance issues. He specializes in the promotion of Public-Private Dialogue and Business Management Training. During his career he has worked with numerous organizations to promote economic development in Botswana. He previously worked for the Government of Botswana in different capacities: Head of the Co-operative Marketing Branch; Head of the Botswana Trade & Investment Agency; and National Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. In the private sector, Mr. Dewah has worked as Operations Manager with Shell Oil in Botswana, General Manager for Rural Industries Innovation Centre, and Executive Director of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM). He holds a Master of Business Administration in Industrialization and Strategic Management from the Netherlands, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Accounting, and a Diploma in Agriculture.
Join us for a CIPE webinar on Public-Private Dialogue
July 11, 9:30 a.m. EST
With the commitment to strengthen democratic and market reforms in Pakistan, CIPE, with the support of its partners, continues to provide tools to serve as a catalyst for institutional reform for private sector and state owned enterprises. The 2012 Activities Report highlights the impact of CIPE programs and the achievements of our partners in Pakistan.
There is a reason that we call the interlocking network of institutions, attitudes, and policies that enables entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses an “entrepreneurship ecosystem.” An ecosystem is not planted like a garden: it is too complex and unpredictable to simply build from scratch (as the famous Biosphere 2 experiments showed). And, like natural ecosystems, entrepreneurship ecosystems are challenging but vital to cultivate — and all too easy to destroy.
Over the past two days here in Chicago at the Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs conference, panelists from the worlds of business, finance, education, associations, and nonprofits engaged in a lively and productive discussion of how this ecosystem can be nurtured and developed.
It would be impossible to completely distill the diverse range of topics covered at this conference into a single blog post – and we intend to share much more conference content (including videos of each panel) in the coming days and weeks here on the blog and at democracythatdelivers.com. As a start, below are are four of the key lessons that came up repeatedly throughout the conference:
Crowdfunding has taken the cyberspace by storm. Through platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, innovators can pitch their ideas and like-minded individuals around the world are able to come together to pool their resources toward a specific goal. Crowdfunding advocates say it is an entirely new model that goes beyond traditional types of investment — but regulators do not always agree.
From non-profit causes to art projects, crowdfunding has been a powerful force. But in the U.S., and in many other countries, it encountered a serious barrier when it comes to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs: 80-year-old securities laws which made it illegal to publicly solicit money from unaccredited investors. As a result, Americans could use their money to help entrepreneurs in developing countries through platforms such as Kiva.org but were unable to invest in their local restaurant or gym.
Even though there are, in theory, many sources of funding available to such small businesses, in practice banks are often reluctant to lend to them and angel and venture capital options are also limited outside of fast growing sectors such as IT. This made changing the antiquated law an imperative. But how to do it? The story of how crowdfunding became legalized in the U.S. is the story of how 3 guys changed the rules of the game in 460 days.
The new face of activism in the information age (Source: bolobhi.org, photo: Zaheer Kidvai)
Historically, Pakistani governments have been known for limiting access to information by their citizens. However with the emergence of social media, the situation is changing. Social media activists are becoming vocal and spreading information that was otherwise impossible to publish in the traditional forms.
Blogosphere has transformed the debate around democracy and access to information in Pakistan. Express Tribune was one of the pioneering newspapers that took a bold step and allowed its readers to comment on news published online. Its blog became an extremely powerful tool for disseminating user-generated content to a wider public. Now all major newspapers and television channels have active blogs.
Following are several examples of how social media is helping frame debates around sensitive topics in Pakistan.
To deal with the heavy-handedness of the government when it comes to information access, a group of journalism students started a blog called Pakistan Media Watch. The blog is aimed at initiating debates around controversial stories published in Pakistani media. They were extremely vocal, for instance, about killings and persecution of Pakistani journalists that all too often go unpunished.
“This is a sad day for new media in Pakistan. While many claim this to be a ‘victory’ against the offensive campaign, I feel at loss. The ban frenzy has only created a win-win situation for extremists on both sides. Instead of allowing people to opt for deactivating their accounts and registering their protests in the way they want, we have been forced to act like sheep once again, forced to jump on a bandwagon, and bear the burden of the perception that we are in fact an intolerant society.”
“Nothing justifies the taking away of my right to access information online or offline, to use the networks I want to. I don’t need the government to make such decisions for me. I am quite capable of doing that for myself. If I want to protest against something I find offensive, I will (and I do). The PTA [Pakistan Telecommunication Authority] and the courts have no right to deprive me of my freedom to do so.”
The ban was eventually lifted after offensive content was removed, in a significant part thanks to the protests such as these, which pointed out that closing access to the entire social media services is not the right way to handle controversies over content.
A recent proposal by the Information Communication Technology Research and Development Fund (ICTRDF) of the Ministry of Information Technology to install a national-level website filtering system that may be used to further political agendas and curb freedom of expression also encountered stiff resistance from concerned citizens through the social media. According to local press, “The National Level URL Filtering and Blocking System (NLUBS) would help the government block websites systematically, much like the Internet censoring methods adopted by Chinese and Saudi Arabian governments.”
A local initiative Bolo Bhi which means “Speak Up” started a massive social media campaign against the unclear and potentially discriminatory policy by PTA to enable blanket filtering of up to 50 million URLs. Thanks to the efforts of Pakistani social media activists, on the 19th of March this year, local newspapers quoted a member of the National Assembly saying that the ministry reversed its decision and the Secretary in the Ministry of Information Technology admitted that “the URL project has been withdrawn due to the concern shown by various stakeholders.”
Sana Saleem, CEO of Bolo Bhi, in a recent interview gave an overview of the situation of social media activism in Pakistan:
As Sana concludes, “In a society where social spaces are shrinking, social media offers a space to share, interact, and mobilize. It is an enabler. But bridging the great divide between online activism and on the ground actions remains key.”
The CIPE Development Blog provides coverage of the Center for International Private Enterprise and its partner network at work -- highlighting successes, drawing out lessons from failure, and exploring the broader issues of political and economic development. For more information visit CIPE.org.