Tag Archives: Africa

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.

Read More…

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.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes

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.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Listen to past episodes of our show here.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

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.

Read More…

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.

Read More…

Study Shows Lack of Ideas is Not What’s Holding Women Entrepreneurs Back


south asian women training

Participants at a recent training workshop for South Asian women’s business associations in Kathmandu.

African women are almost twice as likely to have a new business idea they would like to develop than women in Europe and the United States, according to a new study commissioned by Dell. This is further proof of what many of us already know – that there is no lack of ideas and energy among women entrepreneurs in developing countries. It is institutional barriers and local economic conditions that primarily hold back women who are looking to start a business.

CIPE and its partners have supported women entrepreneurs in a number of countries to make significant gains in increasing their role in the economy and their input to public policy. For example, women’s business associations in Nigeria have successfully advocated to increase their role in a national conference to review the nation’s governing institutions.

In Pakistan, CIPE and its partners worked to reform the National Trade Organizations Ordinance to allow women to form their own associations and improve women’s representation on already established chamber boards. The Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry has successfully advocated for local and national level policies to improve access to credit for women entrepreneurs. And in Papua New Guinea, a new CIPE-supported women’s business association helped to establish a “women’s desk” at the largest commercial bank in the country to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to obtain bank loans.

Read More…

Football is more than a game (part two)

Ghanaian sports fans and members of the Millennium Supporters Union of Ghana. (Photo: Virginia Bunker)

As highlighted on the CIPE Development Blog last week, the world’s most beloved sport can play a key role in cultivating economic opportunity and strengthening democracy throughout Africa. One innovative means of cultivation is through the budding business of fan associations.

In Ghana, the organization of formally recognized fan associations began in earnest during the Black Stars’ debut in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. With the nation’s football obsession, like many countries around the world, the number of supporter groups and their memberships grew rapidly. Today Ghana’s Ministry of Youth and Sports recognizes numerous associations, such as the Nationwide Supporters Union (NSU), Supporters Union of Ghana (SUGHA), Ghana National Supporters Union (GHANSU), Millennium Supporters Union of Ghana (MISUGHA) and the Women’s Supporters Union of Ghana (WOSUGHA).

While these aren’t CIPE’s target audience of partner organizations, the social capital and leadership skills they help build are of overall importance to strengthening civil society as a pillar of democratic governance. That capital and those skills are transferable, and learning them in practice can be as effective if not more so than learning in a workshop.

My first experience with fan associations was in July 2009 when I attended the Africa Hockey Cup for Nations in Accra, Ghana. For one week the national men’s and women’s field hockey teams of Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt clashed to earn a bid at the 2010 Hockey World Cup. Several of Ghana’s fan associations remained steadfast in their support for the tournament by cheering, clapping, singing and dancing during all of the week’s matches, whether Ghana was playing or not.

Why cheer for an opponent? When you are commissioned by the government to create an atmosphere of excitement and unity, an image of a sports-loving nation dedicated to the development of lesser-known sports, that’s what you do. For fan associations, it is their business, even for sports beyond football.

For President Mills to pull off a successful Hockey Cup for Nations, one that expressed Ghana’s outward display of support for hockey’s development to the international sporting community, and one that justified the creation of a state-of-the-art water-based hockey pitch and facility in downtown Accra, a packed stadium was necessary. NSU, MISUGHA and WOSUGHA performed their jobs beautifully.

Although I had never had the slightest interest in field hockey before attending the tournament, the atmosphere these groups created was truly exhilarating. I’m sure many of the union members left the competition with a newfound appreciation for field hockey, and from a business standpoint the success was in the mutual benefit of both the unions and Ghana’s government. The Cup for Nations tournament put another notch in Ghana’s belt for sporting infrastructure and hosting capabilities, and the fan associations were paid for their services.

In 2006 Sarfo Abrebrese, a lawyer, sports commentator and TV personality from Ghana spearheaded the creation of the Coalition of Supporter Unions in Africa (COSUA) to rally mass support for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After witnessing SUGHA’s success in uniting fans from the fiercest rival clubs in Ghana for the Black Stars’ run in the 2006 World Cup, Abrebrese believed this cause could be extended to the African continent.

COSUA genuinely believes in the unifying nature of sports but also understands the networking potential in sports lovers across Africa as a business strategy to increase membership, sponsorship and revenue. It is no wonder that COSUA had been such a staunch supporter of Durban, South Africa’s bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympics until the city officially pulled out of the running.

South Africa may have its eyes set on the 2024 Olympics instead, and fan associations in Africa will no doubt band behind this international honor and business opportunity. In the mean time it will be interesting to see how many civil society leaders and members of tomorrow might emerge from the fan associations of today.