Tag Archives: Africa

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.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #78: Omowumi Gbadamosi on Economic and Democratic Progress in Nigeria

From left: podcast guest Omowumi Gbadamosi with guest host Lars Benson, and host Ken Jaques.

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, CIPE’s Country Director in Nigeria, Omowumi Gbadamosi, discusses economic and democratic progress in Nigeria. Gbadamosi began her career with CIPE in 1988, and the most dramatic change she has seen in the last thirty years is the transformation in Nigeria from a military dictatorship to a democracy.

Gbadamosi believes the Nigerian government is now listening to the needs of the private sector, but the government needs to learn to respond. She is optimistic about Nigeria’s future as CIPE’s partners have continued to push for reforms.

Her advice to Nigeria’s private sector is to be resilient. Gbadamosi says working with the public sector can be dispiriting; it is essential for those in the private sector to stay persistent because advocacy is a continual process.

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

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M&E, Technology and Network Outages in Kenya

Workshop participants in Nairobi

This piece originally appeared on the Panopoly Digital Blog

Last week, I was in Nairobi, Kenya with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and their Kenyan partners from a wide variety of organisations, including civil society organisations and business membership associations from across Kenya. I was delivering a two-day training workshop on monitoring, evaluation and communication, how to use technology for those M&E and advocacy activities, and how to think about digital security.

CIPE strengthens democracy worldwide through private enterprise and market reforms. In Kenya, it works with partners to build policy and regulatory reform and provide services to regional members. Since Kenya’s devolution and decentralisation of government launched in 2013, CIPE’s Kenya partners have been working with their audience at a local level to ensure that local governments are accountable to their citizens.

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Democracy That Delivers Podcast #65: Nikiru Joy Okpala on How Business Associations Empower Women in Nigeria

From Left: podcast guest Nikiru Joy Okpala and guest host Henry LaGue

On this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, National Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, Nikiru Joy Okpala, talks about how she went from being a young lawyer interested in women’s issues to working in the field of business association management. She discusses the importance of economic empowerment for women and the barriers that make it difficult for women in Nigeria to succeed in business. One of those barriers is what she calls the “two-job function” where women have to juggle demands at work with demands at home, such as housekeeping and childcare.

Okpala also discusses the role of women in Nigerian society, the urban/rural split in attitudes, and how education is helping expand what is possible for women in her country. Finally, she talks about how her parents raised her to be an independent and successful woman, including the confidence she gained through debating current affairs with her banker father and his friends.

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

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #47: Henry LaGue and Abi Stoltzfus on the Draw of International Development

Podcast guests Abi Stoltzfus (left) and Henry LaGue

Podcast guests Abi Stoltzfus (left) and Henry LaGue

This week on the Democracy that Delivers podcast, Ken and Julie sit down with two members of CIPE staff, Program Officer for Africa Henry LaGue and Program Assistant for Middle East and North Africa Abi Stoltzfus to discuss their work at CIPE, how they got interested in international development, and the paths that led them there.

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A Trinity of Trade: Africa soon to Launch TFTA

Map of TFTA

By Otito Greg-Obi

Recently, African heads of state gathered together in Egypt to sign the Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement (TFTA) which will join the forces of the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Free trade is crucial to global economies because it reduces tariff barriers which in turn results in trade creation. The benefits of trade for developing nations in general are numerous. To name a few: first and foremost, trade allows for specialization meaning countries can build a comparative advantage by focusing on producing goods with low opportunity costs. Secondly, trade encourages healthy competition which incentivizes businesses to increase efficiency and cut costs. Lastly, trade can reduce dependence on existing markets and stabilize countries affected by seasonal changes in markets.

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Are Remittances Really Remiss?

Remittances in Somalia

By Otito Greg-Obi

It is a popular opinion in the international development community that remittances – money transferred by a foreign worker back to someone in his or her home country – can have a negative effect on economic growth because recipients tend to spend cash flows on day-to-day subsistence. However, research shows that the opposite is true. A study on the effect of remittances on growth in Africa reveals that remittances seem to have an overall positive effect on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). When compared to foreign aid and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), a 10 percent increase in remittances leads to a 0.3 percent increase in the GDP per capita income.

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