Tag Archives: advocacy

A New Network of Business Associations Is Born in Côte d’Ivoire

Network members attending the meeting in Abidjan.

Network members attending the meeting in Abidjan.

Experience shows time and again that business associations are more effective in their advocacy when they work together in coalitions, networks, or alliances, whether formal or informal, to advance the interests of their members. When the time is right to join forces depends on a number of factors, chiefly among them being the degree of maturity of the association leaders and executives who understand that together they are stronger and their concerns are more likely to be heard than if they work and engage with decision-makers individually.

Willingness to join forces is a prerequisite for a group to affect change, but it is not the only one. It is equally important for the associations that embark on such an enterprise to be built on a solid structure, to follow sound governance principles, to meet members’ needs and to use adequate tools to present members’ issues and proposed solutions in a transparent and professional manner.

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Will the Roadmap for Nigeria’s Future Include Women?

Nigerian businesswomen take part in a CIPE-sponsored mentoring program in 2011.

Nigerian businesswomen take part in a CIPE-sponsored mentoring program in 2011.

Nigeria will soon begin a national discussion that could redefine the foundations of the entire country. Unfortunately, as originally planned, this process would have left women largely out of the conversation.

On March 17, a National Conference including delegates from government, civil society, and the private sector will convene to consider rewriting the military-era constitution, redefining the country’s internal borders and administrative structures, strengthening institutions to combat corruption, and many other issues that may shape Nigerian society for years or decades to come.

The conference could usher in important changes for a nation plagued by corruption, religious conflict, and poverty — but the original  pool of nearly 500 delegates included just 72 women from three associations. With a 75 percent majority required to take what could be fundamental decisions about the country’s future direction, women were at risk of being completely marginalized.

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Business Community Unites on Pakistan Budget Proposal

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“In a rare show of strength, top representatives of all the country’s chambers of commerce and industry gathered in Karachi and asked the government to revamp the tax collection system if it wants to increase revenue collection in the country.”Express Tribune

For the past five years, CIPE Pakistan has been supporting the All-Pakistan Chamber Presidents’ Conference organized by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry. This conference has provided the business community an opportunity to assemble and a platform to advocate for policy reforms in the country with one voice.

Following in the footsteps this conference, Pakistan’s largest chamber, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, organized a Chamber Presidents’ Conference focusing on bringing together leading chambers to submit a joint proposal for the forthcoming federal budget.

Considering the fact that Pakistan has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratios, which results in the government falling short of revenue and burdening those who already pay heavy taxes, participants of this conference remained focused on a single-point agenda “to work with government on increasing tax collection and reducing dependence on IMF loans.”

Zubair Motiwala, Co-President of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry said, “Our successive governments have followed a policy of divide and rule. But now that we are united here on one platform, no government can ignore us anymore.”

The conference was attended by the presidents of more than 18 chambers including those from Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan, Lasbela, Sukkur, and other cities and regions.

This was the first time that leading chambers have agreed to develop a unified budget proposal at least two months ahead of budget preparation. The proposal will be finalized at the next meeting, which will be hosted by Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in April of this year.

The business community showed its determination to keep advocating for policy reforms to encourage economic revival in the country. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Shimail Daud, President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said;

“The unnecessary power of the bureaucracy should be curtailed for the good of the country’s economy. The business community from all four provinces of the country is working together for the most implementable and serious budget proposals and this time it will definitely bring results.”

Moin Fudda is Country Director for CIPE Pakistan.

Strengthening the Voice of Ukraine’s Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

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“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.

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Entrepreneurship Development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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“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

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is Pakistan’s most terrorism affected province. The province is also known for a culture restricting women from participating in economic activities. Due to cultural barriers and terrorism, opportunities for women in KP province are limited; so much so, that in a number of KP districts, women are barred from casting their votes in the general elections.

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.

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Join a CIPE Webinar on Public-Private Dialogue in Africa

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

Reserve your Webinar seat now.

 

CIPE Pakistan Releases 2012 Activities Report

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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.

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