Tag Archives: democracy

Closing Governance Gaps to Promote Resilient Economies in the Balkans

Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP), an aluminum plant headquartered in Podgorica, Montenegro. Photo via. Reuters.

Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of capital moving from a number of authoritarian countries into emerging democracies. While in some cases this might represent wholly legitimate investment, often authoritarian governments are specifically seeking to direct the flow of these funds to achieve purposes other than purely economic. At CIPE, we define this issue as “corrosive capital” – equity, debt, and aid that both takes advantage of, and exacerbates weak governance in emerging democracies, to the further detriment of democratic and market development. Corrosive capital can distort policymakers’ incentives and decision-making, privileging the political influence of authoritarian governments over local citizens’ voices.

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Democracy that Delivers #99: Long-time CIPE Partner Jaroslav Romanchuk Discusses Evolution of Economic System in Belarus

From left: podcast guest Jaroslav Romanchuk, Caroline Elkin, guest host Eric Hontz and host Ken Jaques

On this week’s podcast, Belarussian economist Jaroslav Romanchuk discusses important reforms taking place in his home country, which has maintained many Soviet Union ideologies.

Romanchuk, Executive Director for Analytical Center “Strategy,” provides a history on the country’s move from a centrally planned economy to more market-oriented processes.

Romanchuk has worked with CIPE to form a coalition of business associations and think tanks that have successfully advocated for 450 democratic reforms in Belarus over the past decade.

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

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Bridging the Gap in Access to Justice: Lessons learned from Afghanistan’s Paktika Province

Disputes over property, such as land and cattle, and other matters are still settled by tribal leaders in many parts of Afghanistan. Huquq activities in Paktika may serve as a model for other communities and pave the way to a more formalized system of justice.

Despite substantial efforts by coalition forces and international donors to strengthen Afghanistan’s formal justice sector, many Afghans remain unaware or highly suspicious of the formal system. The system is considered highly corrupt, with decisions often made in the favor of the highest bidder. In contrast, public trust in informal justice mechanisms, primarily in traditional dispute resolution (TDR), remains high, according to a recent Asia Foundation report entitled “Afghanistan in 2017: A Survey of the Afghan People.” Afghans continue to prefer that tribal elders and local shuras (Arabic for religious councils) settle local disputes. Without improving access to more formalized justice systems or addressing the fragile state of legal reform, stabilization initiatives aimed at reviving the country’s economy will continue to have limited impact. Rather than create new parallel justice systems, often viewed as foreign and imposing, efforts to support and reform existing institutions have a far better chance of being locally accepted, effective, and sustainable.

Residents of Paktika Province are among those who continue to rely on traditional mechanisms to resolve disputes, primarily in the form of mediation shuras led by local tribal elders. Based on my experience in Afghanistan, Paktika provides an interesting case study regarding possible paths to strengthen the nation’s formal justice system. Unlike in other areas of war-torn Afghanistan, Paktika’s tribal system of governance has remained relatively intact, and ordinary citizens continue to resolve conflicts through locally accepted and readily available TDR. Understanding and regular use of the formal justice system by citizens of Paktika is likely, at least, a generation away. However, there is a way to begin closing the gap between the informal and formal systems. The key to improving the country’s justice system is finding the middle ground between the informal and formal systems and to begin knitting together the two systems. The Department of Huquq, which falls under Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice, is the place to begin.

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Democracy that Delivers #97: Reform Measures and the Role of Civil Society in Poland

From left: podcast guest Marek Tatala, guest host Marc Schleifer, and host Ken Jaques

What is the likely role of civil society in Poland amid calls for more policy changes and justice reforms? In this week’s podcast, Civil Development Forum Vice President, Marek Tatala shares his take and explains how CDF is using technology and other outreach mechanisms to empower citizens.

CDF is a CIPE partner and non-governmental think tank based in Poland. CDF’s mission is to promote and defend economic freedoms, rule of law, and also the concept of limited government.

For more background on some of the current challenges facing Poland nearly three decades after the fall of communism, as well as expert recommendations, read CIPE Global Director Anna Kompanek’s blog “Democratic and Market Values Face Obstacles in Poland”.

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.

Bringing New Ideas and the Local Private Sector Voice to International Discussions

On December 18-22, 2017, CIPE will be speaking at the upcoming UN Internet Governance Forum, a multi-stakeholder conference that promotes dialogue on varying internet policies at the international level. CIPE will be providing a unique view to the international forum, bringing voices of the local private sector to dialogues on internet governance and internet freedom.

In order to view the panel discussions and participate online, please register as a remote participant using this link.

At the forum, CIPE, the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) will be releasing the final draft of A Democratic Framework to Interpret Open Internet PrinciplesThe Framework is the first of its kind, as common human rights principles for open internet are now reframed for citizens and civil society organizations in fragile and emerging democracies. The Framework, written by the diverse voices of local and multinational organizations, citizen activists, media representatives, civil society organizations, and members of the local private sector, highlights how an open internet is crucial for protecting and preserving democratic dialogue online.

For additional information about CIPE’s initiative, please visit openinternet.global.

SMEs: the Intersection of Economic Development and Democratization

Small and medium-sized enterprises make a significant contribution to the economies of Southeast Asia.

Because small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are measured according to the size and level of development in a particular country, the definition of an SME varies from country to country. This is one of the main reasons that SME research and data analysis entail serious impediments. Despite debate over whether SMEs are beneficial compared to multinational corporations, there is no denying that SMEs drive sustainable growth and positively affect the economies of individual countries and the global economy.

First of all, SMEs play a significant role in national economies around the world, according to a June 2017 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In many countries, SMEs represent 98 percent or more of all businesses. They are also great economic engines, accounting for an average of 70 percent of jobs in OECD countries and 45 percent of net total employment and 33 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in emerging economies. Moreover, the World Economic Forum and the National Center from the Middle Market (NCMM) have shown that SMEs, as the main source of economic growth, produce the region’s middle class and consequently contribute to poverty reduction.

Additionally, SMEs are central to efforts to achieve more inclusive growth. They create opportunities for upward mobility in society by allowing disadvantaged or marginalized groups including youth, women, seniors, migrants, and minorities to actively participate in a country’s productivity. By employing broad segments of the labor force, including low-skilled workers, SMEs provide employees with access to social services, such as improved health care. For example, as part of its efforts to increase SMEs’ participation in the macroeconomy from 20 to 35 percent by 2030, Saudi Arabia’s government announced that four in 10 startups launched in 2017 were owned by women.

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Safeguarding Democracy and Free Markets in Southeast Asia

A floating market in Vietnam. Survey findings show that people in Southeast Asia place more emphasis on economic development and free markets than on the values traditionally associated with democracy.

Some Southeast Asian countries are plagued by pessimistic views of democracy, as the system of transparent elections and/or government accountability are severely lacking in certain contexts.

In determining how to bolster democracy in places where it faces many threats, it is important to first take a step back and ask the bigger questions.

For example, does economic growth trigger democratization? Or does a democratic society spur economic growth? According to the World Economic Forum, democratic societies are based on policies and institutions that lay the foundations for democratic principles, such as liberty and equality. These democratic policies and institutions benefit firms and individuals, who in turn act as engines for the overall economy. On the contrary, the Brookings Institution has articulated the reverse theory, demonstrating that economic institutions are the source of democratic growth around the world.

At the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), we believe that functioning democracies and market economies are essentially two sides of the same coin, as they commonly share principles of transparency, fairness, accountability, and responsibility. This post will focus on how democracy is generally recognized in Southeast Asia and will highlight CIPE’s endeavors to build market-oriented democracies in the region.

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