Tag Archives: business

Associations Play an Important Role in Improving Ukraine’s Business Climate

CIPE expert Nataliia Kobylchak (left) and Mykolaiv coalition member Iryna Yerofeyeva (right) at CIPE’s M-Test training in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

By Nataliya Zhuhay and Caroline Elkin

As in any state ruled by law, local government officials in Ukraine are obligated to work within the framework of existing laws when developing regulations. But in practice, the regulations they create often act as obstacles for entrepreneurs to run their businesses. These flawed regulations can be poorly written, full of holes that corrupt officials can exploit, or do not correspond to existing laws. Until recently, such regulations did not take into account the costs they imposed, for example, on the café owner who wants to open a summertime terrace—or for that matter, any other basic entrepreneurial activity.

In December 2015, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution requiring all legislators to calculate the cost of implementing regulations for small businesses. This procedure is known as the M-Test. Although the resolution seems to represent a victory for Ukrainian business owners, many challenges remain. First, previously adopted regulations are not subject to the M-Test. Secondly, officials are not required to examine existing regulations for their corruption potential. Thirdly, the State Regulatory Service of Ukraine is unable to change problematic regulations because it can only make recommendations. Thus, only the courts are capable of compelling local governments to withdraw or change regulations. In practice, though, entrepreneurs are reluctant to pursue such matters in court, preferring instead to keep their heads down. As a result, the conditions for doing business on the local level discourage entrepreneurs rather than encourage them.

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Mobile App Gives Investors Instant Access to Corporate Governance Information

App demonstration, watch the full video on the website here.

The recently launched Elapedia app gives investors around the world instant access to corporate governance practices at 100 publically listed companies in the four Pacific Alliance countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). The free Spanish-language app, which relies on publically available data, provides information about boards’ policies related to managing conflicts of interest, risk management, and other topics of interest to investors.

“Until now, there was no easy way to compare information on corporate governance between Pacific Alliance countries,” said Andrew Wilson, CIPE managing director. “With this useful tool, investors can quickly become informed on corporate governance requirements. It’s a way to access that information without having to dig through multiple sources. This app will be a huge benefit to large companies looking to invest, put up a subsidiary or buy a company in Pacific Alliance countries.”

The Elapedia app, which was supported by CIPE and developed by Governance Consultants S.A., represents an important step toward the economic and commercial integration of Pacific Alliance countries. By efficiently harmonizing corporate governance practices, the app will greatly improve the flow of investments and help to strengthen Latin American economies.

Established in 2011, the Pacific Alliance’s goals include establishing the free movement of goods, services and people; driving economic growth; and overcoming socioeconomic inequality. Pacific Alliance countries have made significant progress toward improving standards for corporate governance by fulfilling requirements set forth by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Wilson said.

“With this user-friendly app, CIPE hopes to provide a valuable public service in line with one of our key focus areas—encouraging good corporate governance,” Wilson said. “Good corporate governance is critical to the integrity of business operations and to the overall institutional health of countries because it creates demand for better public governance and prevents devastating economic failures. The Elapedia app is intended to promote transparency and accountability, level the playing field, and encourage the disclosure or elimination of conflicts of interest.”

The Elapedia App can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

John Zemko is the Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean at CIPE. 

Democratic Backsliding in Bulgaria

Protest in Sofia, February 2013, via Wikimedia Commons

The Institute for Market Economics (IME), an independent economic policy think tank in Bulgaria, has sought to define the main challenges to democracy, investigating their roots and identifying possible solutions. In addition to its research, IME recently conducted two surveys. The general sentiment in both surveys confirms that there is a perception of democratic backsliding. Forty-five percent of experts and 61 percent of students polled believe that the quality of democracy in Bulgaria has worsened in recent years, while only 25 percent of experts and 18 percent of students have seen positive developments. The leading challenge to democracy, as identified by IME surveys and roundtable discussions, is state capture. This is the catalyst for problems in the judicial system and widespread political corruption. These trends are compounded by a closing media environment that is increasingly dominated by a politically dependent media.

The latest CIPE Feature Service article examines IME’s key findings and provides recommendations for various stakeholders, including the government, political parties, civil society, media, businesses, donors and the population at large.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #72: Randa Al-Zoghbi on the launch of finance app Tamweely

Podcast guest Randa Al-Zoghbi

In this episode of Democracy that Delivers, podcast guest Randa Al-Zoghbi, CIPE’s Program Director in Egypt, discussed the release of their new app, Tamweely, in partnership with the World Bank.

The app is designed to connect financiers to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Egypt seeking start-up funding, as well as to provide business education tools and information about the institutional and legal environment for entrepreneurs and startups. Al-Zoghbi also discusses the economic situation in Egypt and the many challenges facing the business community there, and where she sees the app going in the future.

To find out more about Tamweely, visit the app store, android store, or go to their website: tamweely.org.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #71: Joshua Muwanguzi and Derrick Magoola Discuss How Entrepreneurship Changes Lives

Students from Ndejje University in Uganda participating in an Entrepreneurship Club training in 2015

On a recent trip to Uganda, Henry LaGue, CIPE Program Officer for Africa, and Ryan Musser, CIPE Assistant Program Officer for Africa, sat down with two CIPE-supported entrepreneurship club graduates to discuss how the skills they learned through the club has helped them become successful. The conversation covers how the guests took what they learned in the club to start their own businesses and tackle the challenges they have faced along the way.

In a discussion led by interviewer LaGue, Muwanguzi talks about how his work as a youth advocate helps Ugandan youth to develop the skills to be successful in life and business. Magoola describes how he established his real estate marketing agency. They also discuss the high number of informal businesses in Uganda and the role of entrepreneurship training in helping aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to establish sustainable businesses in the formal economy.

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

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Democracy that Delivers #70: Role of Business in Fragile States

From left: moderator Scott Stearns with panelists Arshad Sayed, Danielle Walker, Lars Benson, and Ben Musuku

Fragile States continue to garner international attention, and the need to overcome this problem cannot be ignored. They put pressure on the global community by creating devastating poverty and restricted access to basic services for citizens. Fragile States also produce terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, and other dark network activity that puts the well-being of the global community in danger at much higher rates than secure states. One key way to address these problems is through the influence and conduct of the business community.

This event began with a presentation on One Earth Future’s new report Firm Behavior in Fragile States: The Cases of Somaliland, South Sudan, and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the panelists discussed how the lessons learned from the report can be used in other regions and countries. This week’s podcast is the recording of that discussion. Video of the event is available here.

Panelists:

  • Lars Benson, Regional Director for Africa, Center for International Private Enterprise
  • Arshad Sayed, Chief Executive Officer, Global Connect
  • Benjamin Musuku, Task Lead for the World Bank’s Financial/Private Sector Operation in Somalia/Somaliland
  • Danielle Walker, Senior Director, U.S.-Africa Business Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Scott Stearns, State Department Correspondent, Voice of America (discussion moderator)

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

Defending Liberal Democracy in Emerging Markets

From left: Panelists Güray Karacar, Selima Ahmad, Aurelio Concheso, and moderator Karen Kerrigan

Following a wave of global democratization, over the last decade democracies in emerging markets have been tested from above and below. In countries previously seen as successes, citizens are frustrated by economic stagnation and dislocation, dissatisfied with underperforming governments, and divided over identities and values. A new set of anti-establishment, populist leaders have capitalized on this dissatisfaction and are starting to contest the very idea of liberal democracy. The populist approaches have diminished the need for rule of law and challenged the liberal economic order. “We need to respond to the attack on democracy in new ways,” says Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and “defend the inter-dependence of liberal democracy and the market economy, without which economic progress and human freedom will not be able to survive.”

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