Podcast guests Carmen Stanila (far left) and Camelia Bulat (second right) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson
In this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, CIPE consultants Camelia Bulat and Carmen Stanila talk about working with the private sector and business associations on public policy development and advocacy. They discuss their early work in Romania and later in the Balkans, Moldova, and the Caucuses, and the challenges of managing citizen expectations when countries transition to democratic, free market systems. Bulat and Stanila also talk about how they were able to transfer early lessons learned in Romania to projects elsewhere, and the surprising similarity between the issues and priorities facing business associations all over the world.
One of the exciting initiatives I’m leading here at CIPE is to support our partners become better equipped with low-cost online or mobile tools that could improve their operations or programs. Our network of partners do tremendous work – whether that’s developing business and leadership skills in young Peruvians from across the country or igniting debates on economic policies in Nepal – often in challenging environments with limited budgets.
Their work would be even more powerful if they had knowledge on latest technology tools that could make their work more efficient – and that’s where my initiative comes in. We assess the technological environment in which our partners operate, and try to understand in what areas they are looking to enhance their capacity. Based on this information, CIPE worked with our technical expertise partner, Panoply Digital, to support the growth of our partners by equipping them with useful technologies that would make their work more productive.
To this end, CIPE and Panoply Digital led a workshop in Lagos back in February. We trained the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), a collation of women’s business and professional associations in Nigeria. ANWBN is in midst of preparing to develop a national business agenda, a set of policy reform recommendations to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, and they reached out to CIPE to learn tech tools that could add value during this process.
In this month’s Feature Service article, I explain the main takeaways from CIPE’s experience working with ANWBN to improve the coalition members’ ability to lead technology-enabled advocacy efforts for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This included:
- ANWBN operates in a very challenging and frustrating technological environment, including low bandwidth, limited access to connectivity, and frequent power outages
- All ANWBN members used mobile services and used tem as part of their business communication
- Because advocacy is the main upcoming activity for ANWBN, the strategies focused on teaching ANWBN members with applicable tools that would feed into its national business agenda process, including data collection, research, and communications
To learn more about the specific tools that were taught, as well as the adoption rate of the tools that were introduced, read the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article.
Maiko Nakagaki is a Program Officer for Global Programs at CIPE.
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.
On April 27, the Kandahar branch of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries and 28 other major business and sectoral associations in Kandahar province, with CIPE’s support, released the Kandahar Provincial Business Agenda report at an official launch event in Kandahar City.
The PBA report lists the primary concerns of the private sector and impediments to commercial growth in Kandahar and other neighboring provinces, as well as a set of concrete policy recommendations intended to overcome these barriers. These policy recommendations include requests to simplify business registration procedures and documents, lowering tax rates, and improving public infrastructure, as well as recommendations more specific to Kandahar province, including taking steps to improve security conditions at the border crossing in Boldak, on the Pakistani border.
Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with guest Toki Mabogunje (right)
Business development consultant Toki Mabogunje (Twitter: @tmc_nig) talks about the current business climate in Nigeria, how the new government is tackling economic, security, and corruption challenges – and the private sector response – and how Nigerian entrepreneurs find ways to thrive in even the most difficult circumstances. Mabogunje also talks about how her American school education still shapes the way she approaches issues today. Visit her website.
Listen to past episodes of our show here.
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Women are crucial to Nepal’s agricultural sector. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Just over a year after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake left thousands dead, destroyed centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage sites, and wiped out entire villages, Nepal is struggling to cope with the economic impacts of the earthquake. According to the Nepal government, the overall damage is estimated to be about $10 billion – more than half of the country’s $19.2 billion GDP. The disaster is also expected to push an additional 700,000 Nepalese below the national poverty line, which is currently $200 a year, before mid-2016.
Nepal’s economy was severely affected by last year’s devastating earthquake. (Source: Central Bureau of Statistics)
Particularly worrisome is the devastating impact on agriculture. Two thirds of Nepal’s population is employed in the agriculture and forestry sector, according to the International Labor Organization, accounting for 34 percent of the country’s economic output. The government’s estimates show the agricultural sector’s losses at about NPR 28.3 billion, or $284 million at current exchange rates. Without the restoration of the agricultural sector, Nepal won’t fully recover from the earthquake.
The Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN) has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Department, with CIPE’s support, to raise awareness among women agro-entrepreneurs about the various funding opportunities offered by the Ministry. Through training seminars on grant applications and procedures for agricultural credit subsidies at each of FWEAN’s 25 district chapters, FWEAN is encouraging women entrepreneurs to use the resources made available by the government.