Fifteen years after the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan began, it feels as if many of the same problems persist. Thousands of Afghans have been made jobless as military bases have closed across the country and development and foreign assistance programs have been reduced or have ended; the National Unity Government continues to be paralyzed by political infighting and rampant corruption; and a resurgent Taliban have threatened to overrun several provincial capitals and have orchestrated a number of terrorist attacks across the country, including in Kabul. Despite these worrying trends, the Afghan people have made significant progress since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001. Basic services such as electricity and running water were unavailable even in Kabul during the years of Taliban rule, and have now spread throughout the country. Trips between cities that used to take days due to unpaved roads can now be completed in hours. Prior to October 2001, making an international call involved traveling across the border to Pakistan. Today, almost 85% of the population has mobile phone coverage, according to a 2012 USAID assessment.
By Bogdana Aleksandrova and Anastasiya Baklan
For the first time in Ukraine’s modern history regional business associations, in cooperation with Chambers of Commerce and Industry and think tanks, are developing and promoting local business agendas.
Historically Ukrainian business associations, chambers, and think tanks have not cooperated closely to form a single voice of business in advocacy efforts. In view of this history, CIPE developed and delivered training programs to various business support organizations over the past several years, the latest of which occurred over the winter and spring. The training, encouragement, and support from CIPE have helped to foster the development of coalitions of these organizations following the trainings in several regions around Ukraine (see CIPE’s Bogdana Aleksandrova speak about the advocacy campaigns – in Russian).
The most recent participants in CIPE’s training program will receive ongoing consultations from CIPE experts, including Sergiy Pancir, Head of the Center of Social Partnership and Lobbying under the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Denis Bazilevich, Director of the Institute of Professional Lobbying and Advocacy and Ruslan Kraplich, business trainer of the Ostrog Princes Foundation. Now these coalitions are taking the next step, applying their training, and are developing local business agendas.
CIPE recently announced that five regional coalitions, from Sumy, Mykolaev, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohrad, and the city of Kyiv, each consisting of business support organizations and regional think tanks, would receiving small grants and ongoing technical support to develop regional business agendas.
Podcast host Julie Johnson (center) and guest host John Zemko with guest Gigi Raffo.
Atlas Corps fellow and social media manager at Venezuelan think tank CEDICE, Gigi Raffo (@GianninaRaffo), talks about the everyday hardships experienced by citizens in her country, the challenges facing the private sector, and how she and others are trying to make changes and build hope for the future. Raffo also talks about adjusting to the freedoms and choices offered in the U.S. and what she is learning here that will inform her work when she goes home.
Listen to past episodes of our show here.
Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show!
By Micheal Gallagher, Panoply Digital
This blog post was originally published by Panoply Digital, who are helping CIPE partners around the world improve their digital capabilities. Read the first part here.
In an ongoing collaboration with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform, Panoply Digital recently conducted a two day technology training workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is the second training we have done in this regard, with the first being a recent event in Lagos, Nigeria which my colleague Lauren wrote about here.
The participants were from two of CIPE’s partners in the region SILAKA is an organization dedicated to promoting good governance and gender equality in rebuilding Cambodian society; nurturing networking and cooperation to engage both demand and supply sides; and sharing knowledge and experiences to help advancement Cambodian’s development, and peace building. The second,CAMFEBA (The Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations), represents the private sector with over 2,000 employers and business associations in Cambodia with legal, strategic, or training consultation.
By Lauren Dawes, Panoply Digital
This blog post was originally published by Panoply Digital, who are helping CIPE partners around the world improve their digital capabilities.
In a previous blog, Michael wrote about the work we have been doing with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) for almost a year now – developing a training programme to teach partners of CIPE’s network how to better communicate and carry out their advocacy efforts via the use of technology. The programme is the brainchild of Maiko Nakagaki, Programme Officer (Global) at CIPE who identified a need and opportunity to bolster their partner’s capacity to better serve their members through the integration of technology. The initial phase of our project consisted of surveys and in-depth interviews to assist us in identifying several high-need countries to conduct the training workshops. The first of those, Nigeria, took place on February 15-16 where I was hosted by the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN) to deliver four modules: Research, Polling and Tracking, Communication, and Online Presence.
Many of the ANWBN coalition was represented across the two days including International Women Society of Nigeria (IWSN), Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON), and NACCIMA Women Wing (NAWOG). The training consisted of live demos and hands on activities which was great fun given the how keen the group was to learn. Of course there were the obvious concerns when preparing to deliver the training – limited bandwidth and power outages being the main ones – but the internet held strong and the outages kindly timed themselves with our scheduled breaks! One of the key outcomes was to ensure that there would be uptake of some of the tools that we trained the attendees on. For that to be a viable option, they needed to be free or low-cost, require minimal bandwidth, be accessible across multiple devices and easy to implement and use. With that in mind, we opted to use a couple of Google tools: Alerts and Forms; BulkSMS and SMS Poll to cover communication and capturing data on basic devices; and Feedly.
With reports showing a steady increase of the level of informality in Albania and recent World Bank reports that Albania’s informal sector is estimated to make up as much as 40 to 50 percent of the country’s economy, the issue of informality is integral to Albania’s development. Now especially, as the European Union has granted Albania conditional EU candidate status. The gesture indicates both a challenge and an opportunity – formal accession negotiations will not begin until Albania addresses several key priorities, particularly reforming the country’s finances and reducing corruption.
Over the last decade, the number of businesses around the world operating in the shadows has grown. Men and women who stand at cash registers and add up their profits at the end of the day are increasingly doing so outside the jurisdiction of the state. Profits derived from the informal economy represent a significant share of the global economy, both in terms of currency and workforce labor, accounting for between 25 and 40 percent of annual output.
In developing countries with large informal sectors, thousands of entrepreneurs are locked out of the formal legal economy by a maze of regulations, burdensome procedures, high tax rates, and other barriers. These entrepreneurs can neither thrive personally nor contribute to their economy. Further, these entrepreneurs, and their employees alike, lack legal protection, access to credit, and have no legal ground to push back against corruption.
Thus the concerted effort to reduce informality has taken a front and center role in Albania. Recognizing how the informal sector is a breeding ground for corruption, one of the country’s leading think tanks, the Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER), began working on the issue with a group of reform-minded business organizations.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of presenting at the 2015 Global Youth Economic Summit in Washington, DC, where over 450 leaders and practitioners from 50 countries came together. The theme of the overall summit was “Scale in Practice,” and it examined how best to design youth economic empowerment projects that maximize impact, scale, and sustainability.
My session was “The Voice of Youth in Economic Policymaking: How to Advocate for the Right Reforms” and I presented with Simon Van Melick from SPARK (a Dutch-NGO specializing in youth entrepreneurship in conflict affected societies) and Hania Bitar from Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALRA). Unlike the other presenters at the Summit, who focused on the initiatives like vocational programs, microfinance, and innovations in mobile-based educational games, my panel focused on how to engage and empower youth to be involved in political and economic reform of their local communities.
CIPE’s strategy for youth programming is to prepare young people to become self-dependent and take initiative. To empower and engage youth as leaders of tomorrow, CIPE takes four approaches: teach civic education, equip youth with leadership skills, empower civil society to be inclusive and engage youth in the policymaking process, and provide platforms for youth to share ideas on reform.