Tag Archives: democracy

The Tunisian Business Community: Still Working to Keep Tunisia’s Democracy on Track

A forum held by IACE in May 2016. (Photo: Kapitalis.com)

A forum held by IACE in May 2016. (Photo: Kapitalis.com)

By Ali Ayadi, Pam Beecroft, and Brenna Curti

In 2015, Tunisia’s business community, government and civil society worked together to overcome a series of political and security crises that almost derailed their grand democracy experiment, and won a Nobel Prize for their efforts.

Now it is the economy that needs an intervention. Instead of transforming and growing, it has been sliding backward. The Tunisian dinar is losing value, public debt is mounting, inflation continues to rise, and unemployment grows daily. Corruption and cronyism are rampant, spreading injustice and slowing growth even more.

As Tunisians lose faith in their leaders, discontent is fueling new social unrest. Violence and terrorism have added new layers of economic woes, virtually wiping out tourism and resulting in $4 billion for economic recovery being diverted to cover national security needs.

It is no exaggeration to say that Tunisia’s democratic future hinges on fixing all this. For one thing, if citizens are worried about basic survival, they cannot focus on elections and civic groups and all those other things that keep leaders accountable and democracy vibrant. For another, Tunisia needs the spirit of enterprise itself – economic dreams, hard work, innovation, and entrepreneurship – to create the prosperity citizens need.

That is why CIPE’s long-time partner, the Arab Institute for Business Leaders (IACE, in French) has joined with one of the Nobel prize winners, the Tunisian Union for Industry, Commerce and Crafts (UTICA), as well as the Tunisian Union for Agriculture and Fisheries (UTAP) and the government, to get Tunisia’s economy back on track. With CIPE support, they have launched a “National Business Agenda” (NBA) – a CIPE process that helps the private sector consult local businesses, identify economic priorities and advocate government to improve the economy through reforms.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #19: Former CIPE Executive Director John D. Sullivan on the Role of the Private Sector in Democracy and CIPE’s Evolution

Podcast hosts Julie Johnson and Ken Jaques with guest John D. Sullivan right).

Podcast hosts Julie Johnson and Ken Jaques with guest John D. Sullivan (right).

Former Executive Director of CIPE John D. Sullivan discusses how the private sector and a free market economy are essential for a thriving democracy and the role CIPE plays working with private sector partners to strengthen democratic institutions around the world. Sullivan recalls what led to the establishment of the National Endowment for Democracy and its core institutes, including CIPE, and how it was decided that the private sector needed to be represented in the “democracy program” that began under former President Ronald Reagan. Sullivan also discusses the important relationship CIPE developed with the Russian Chamber of Commerce, and the impact of the work of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto on CIPE’s programs.

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Listen to past episodes of our show here.

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Storytelling: A Tool for Changemakers in Civil Societies Around the Globe

Storymakers Twitterchat 2016

Join us for the #Storymakers2016 Twitter chat on May 4

On May 4, CIPE is partnering with Democracy International and Devex for TechSoup’s 24-hour, around-the-world #Storymakers2016 Twitter chat. We’ll dig into how civil societies are using traditional and emerging storytelling tools to empower individuals and shift democracy, governance and human rights conversations around the globe.

Join us for this one-hour live Twitter chat on May 4, 2016 at 4:00pm EST, 10:00 pm Johannesburg time.

#Storymakers2016 Twitter Chat: Storytelling: a tool for change makers in civil societies around the globe

Curious about this topic? Tune in by following along at #Storymakers2016 to hear from global development leaders and civil society experts to discuss these questions:

  • What is working in #DemocracyRightsGovernance #communications + #storytelling? How are int’l orgs supporting #HumanRights advocacy + #CivilSociety?
  • What is not working when #GlobalDev orgs try and support #CivilSociety or #HumanRights activists in developing countries or repressive regimes?
  • What risks do activists and #CivilSociety organizations face when they utilize storytelling and other #comms tools?
  • Can storytelling and #communications counter the trajectory of countries with closing democratic space, turbulent politics, or even conflict?
  • How can int’l orgs, NGOs, CSOs, and activists overcome these challenges and improve #GlobalDev outcomes through better #storytelling?

Participants will include:

  • CIPE — The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.
  • Democracy International — Democracy International (DI) promotes democracy, human rights, good governance, peace, and international development around the world.
  • Devex — Devex is the media platform for the global development community. We connect & inform 700,000+ dev professionals worldwide.

Follow the organizations on social media:

Twitter:  @CIPEGlobal, @DemocracyIntl, @Devex, @TechSoup
Facebook: Center for International Private Enterprise, Democracy International, Devex

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #9: CIPE’s Abdulwahab Alkebsi on What’s Needed to Build Democracy in the Middle East

Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with Abdulwahab Alkebsi (right).

CIPE Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa Abdulwahab Alkebsi’ s passion for democracy work goes back to his childhood in Yemen.

In this podcast, Alkebsi discuses how his childhood in Yemen informs his democracy work today, the success of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the United States, in contrast to the situation in Europe, and the need for a reassessment in the Middle East of what Islam is and what it is not.

He also talks about the correlation between the institutions that build the Islamic faith and those that build democracy, what is happening on the ground in the Middle East today that makes him hopeful for the future, and the exciting contribution the private sector is making to building democratic institutions in Africa.

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!

Sparking Debate on Economic Policy in Nepal

Samriddhi wins an award at the Asia Liberty Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Samriddhi wins an award at the Asia Liberty Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

By Sarita Sapkota, Samriddhi

In the annual Asia Liberty Forum in Malaysia this year, Atlas Network presented the Asia Liberty Award to Samriddhi for its ‘Econ-ity’ initiative. As part of Atlas’ Regional Liberty Awards, The Asia Liberty Award recognizes think tanks within the Atlas Network that have made important contributions to improving the landscape for enterprise and entrepreneurship in their regions. Through the award, Econ-ity was specially appreciated for the success it has brought about in advocating for and having an impact on energy sector reforms and investment policy reforms in the area of foreign investment in Nepal.

These reform efforts include pressuring the government to remove the minimum investment requirement in its recent foreign investment policies to allow small entrepreneurs to receive smaller investments and technology transfer from foreign companies as well as the establishment of a hydropower trade agreement with India that creates a more optimistic environment for investors in the sector. CIPE has been partnering with Samriddhi on several research and advocacy projects in both areas over the years.

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Girl Rising: Civic Education and its Role in Economic Empowerment

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Participants in the civic education program (photo: SEF)

Women comprise more than half of those displaced by the Syrian civil war, a conflict affecting more than 12 million people. As entire communities’ social services and educational structures have been upended and 3 million children forced to abandon their education, girls and young women have been disproportionately affected by the unrest. Those who would otherwise attend school, complete their educations, and pursue diverse careers are being forced into early marriages and motherhood, sexually exploited, and used as unskilled labor in dangerous working conditions in large urban centers like Amman, Beirut, and Istanbul.

There is a strong correlation between education and positive health and socioeconomic outcomes for women and girls, yet education is often one of the first things to be disrupted when conflicts break out. In areas where traditional educational models become unavailable or unfeasible, civic education courses that nurture cultures of peace, promote dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution, and build the cognitive and participatory skills of participants can help fill a critical gap.

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The Role of the Presidential Debate in Macri’s Argentina Election Victory

argentina-debate-second

This post has been updated on December 17, 2015.

What a difference a month can make!  During Argentina’s first presidential candidate debate in October, Daniel Scioli, the Peronist government party candidate, appeared to be a shoo-in with voters. A month later at the November debate held at the University of Buenos Aires Law School the tables were completely turned. Mauricio Macri, representing the opposition voice of market friendly change had now become the favorite to win the election. What happened?

The role of the presidential debates—the first in Argentine history (see my previous post on the first debate which talks about this CIPE supported initiative)—is difficult to quantify. What we can see is that Scioli paid a heavy political price for not participating in October’s debate. The other candidates made constant references during the debate to the empty podium that referenced his absence. The press also excoriated Scioli’s last minute decision to not participate.

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