Tag Archives: chambers of commerce

World Chambers Congress focuses on SMEs and Job Creation


Under the banner of “Identity, Community, Vision,” over 1,300 delegates from around the world gathered in Turin, Italy on June 10 to attend the World Chambers Congress. The main focus of the three day event was how to strengthen small and medium enterprises (SMEs) worldwide to create jobs. Organizers focused on the need to create enabling environments for these businesses to grow and prosper – especially when it comes to youth and entrepreneurs.

“Chambers of Commerce play an increasingly important role in the global economy and are central to the International Chamber’s vision to promote trade as a driver of growth, jobs and sustainable development,” International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Chairman Terry McGraw told the delegates. “The World Chambers Congress is an essential forum to promote knowledge sharing between chambers from around the world – driving real development of public-private partnerships.”

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Five Leading Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia


This post is Part 2 in a series. Read Part 1 here.

In the emerging democracies of South Asia, the majority of women are blocked from full economic and civil participation by a range of both formal and informal obstacles, including laws and regulations, and cultural and societal norms. While there is no shortage of aid programs for women in the region, CIPE recognized that limited attention was being paid to reforming the broader economic and political institutions that are skewed against women – by improving the business environment so that women-owned businesses can thrive.

Last week, CIPE launched a blog series exploring the connection between women’s economic empowerment and democracy in South Asia. The series, inspired by CIPE’s panel at a March 2015 conference in Delhi, tells the stories of five key members of CIPE’s network of South Asian women’s chambers and associations, and explores the crucial role that women’s empowerment plays in strengthening democracy and furthering economic growth.

Women face great difficulties in obtaining finance; their right to own property (and as such, its use as collateral) is often restricted; and at times their very access to marketplaces is constrained. CIPE launched a program to address these issues by strengthening women’s chambers of commerce and business associations, building a network of such organizations from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Over the last two years, CIPE has brought the network together several times to exchange information and best practices, and to establish links between weaker and stronger organizations. CIPE provided training on governance, financial and staff management, communications, and membership development. CIPE has lately begun to fund small advocacy programs carried out by these organizations. Across the board, their successes have been awe-inspiring.

Key members of each organization were invited to speak about their lives and their organizations at the Delhi conference. Read more about each of these five remarkable women below.

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7th All-Pakistan Secretary Generals’ Conference 2015


By Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain and Emad Sohail

“I am always proud to be a part of the Secretary Generals Conferences that have created tremendous impact in the working and improving the efficiency of the participating Chambers and Associations in Pakistan. In every conference we learn new and innovative ideas and exchange experiences with each other that provide us the opportunity to implement best practices in our respective organizations. In fact, these conferences through the rich experience and guidance of mentors like “Hammad Siddique” act as “Change Agent” that develop “out of the box thinking” to think creatively for efficient working.” – Majid Shabbir, Secretary General, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry

 “The role of trade associations, chambers of commerce, large corporations and the business groups in the economic development had become an important area of research.”  Shahid Khalil Secretary General Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry

“I feel very lucky that I got an opportunity to become part of this group, this event provides us guidance as an institution that help us in resolving all matters regarding our business association.”  Khurshid Anwar, The Vehari Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The 7th Annual Secretary Generals conference was held on April 13-14 this year and was attended by 22 participants who gathered in Lahore from various parts on the country. The two-day event is considered a flagship event because of its strategic importance in creating a network and platform of private sector leaders who learn from each other and discuss new ideas and visions for the future.

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Pakistan’s Business Community Learns to Speak With One Voice


By Majid Shabbir

The advocacy process in Pakistan is strengthening as the leaders of the country’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry assembled for a series of Pre- and Post-Budget Conferences in Islamabad, Karachi, Faisalabad, and Rawalpindi to discuss the key business-related policy issues.

In these conferences business leaders of the Chambers thoroughly deliberate important issues and send consolidated policy recommendations to the government. Business associations individually make recommendations on various policies, but with a collective voice they are able to communicate more effectively. Their voice is better heard, and as a result more of their suggestions are incorporated while developing economic policies.

In the pre-budget conferences held by the Karachi and Faisalabad Chambers, the business leaders discussed in-depth trade and economic issues and presented detailed recommendations to the government for consideration. Before the announcement of the Federal Budget the government also involved Chambers and Associations in the consultative process by holding series of meetings with the leaders of these associations.

After the budget was released, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized an All Chambers Presidents Post-Budget Conference with the theme of “Together for a Progressive Pakistan” on June 14 that was attended by all major Chambers including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, KPK, and Rawalpindi, as well as experts and high-level government officials.

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CIPE Pakistan Releases 2013 Activities Report


CIPE Pakistan has completed its 7th successful year. The 2013 Pakistan Activities Report details the progress of yet another instrumental year for policy reform driven by the private sector in the country.

Following are the highlights of the report:

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6th All-Pakistan Secretary Generals Conference


“Learning, networking, beginning of new friendships, exposure to cases of mutual interests – that is what this forum is to me” – Secretary General, Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry

“It was very informative conference, especially the new idea of panel discussion was excellent. In panel discussion so many legitimate issues came under discussion and the participants shared their experiences and exchange views. This idea of panel discussion provided the opport​unity for better understanding about membership development, litigation issues, and preparation of annual performance report/proposed plan activities and how to avail the facility of funding from donor organizations, which is no doubt a great assistance for the Secretary General to perform their obligations for the betterment of members as well for the organization” – Secretary General, Sargodha Chamber of Commerce & Industry

“Take away from this year conference is the conference is the discussion in person with vast experiences/contacts. This particular networking opportunity goes a long way afterwards. Moreover, compliance with Trade Organization Ordinance. 2013 and useful knowledge about funded projects by Donors are my learning/takeaways from this particular session of 2014. Gratitude to CIPE Team once again and congratulations to All Secratery Generals for availing this important opportunity. Now it’s our turn to implement the learning in our Business Association to achieve the purposes of both, the Chamber/Association as well as of CIPE” – Secretary General, Gujrat Chamber of Commerce & Industry

The annual Secretary Generals’ conference is CIPE Pakistan’s flagship event, giving the CEOs of all Pakistan’s business associations an opportunity to come together to network and learn from each other’s experiences.

This year we had 47 nominations, and per our budget had to restrict ourselves to 25 participants. We worked out a viable budget plan and were able to accommodate 40 Secretary Generals, which shows importance of this initiative.

The participants included four women, representing women’s chambers as well as male-dominated business associations. This conference was the 6th such event for Secretary Generals. The Secretary Generals traveled from four provinces of Pakistan to attend this two-day event.

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Celebrating 30 Years as a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Affiliate

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Since its inception, CIPE has been an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A large part of CIPE’s mission revolves around strengthening chambers of commerce and business associations in developing countries so that they can act as the voice of the private sector. As perhaps the most influential chamber in the world, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has served as a model and an inspiration for many CIPE initiatives.

The National Business Agenda process, for example, has been a successful tool for articulating private sector concerns into concrete policy recommendations. Likewise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management has helped CIPE staff train partners around the world in the latest best practices for running an effective association.

Recently U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue wrote about CIPE’s 30-year history of supporting free enterprise and democracy around the world.