Tag Archives: economic reform

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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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.

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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The Dilemma of Corporate Governance and Business Ethics in Sudan

A man in his shoe shop in Khartoum, Sudan. Support from the international business community is needed to empower the local private sector to fight corruption and foment sustainable growth.

Decades of conflict, civil war, and the secession of South Sudan in 2011, combined with the slump in global oil prices, have had a profound effect on Sudan’s economy and developmental progress. As the country attempts to emerge from conflict and integrate into the global economy following the lifting of sanctions, it must continue to navigate institutional challenges and steady itself in the aftermath of multiple economic shocks. With reduced international investment and a private sector that faces complex obstacles, fighting corruption is paramount to a successful transition and an imperative for future growth.

Dirdeiry M. Ahmed, Ph.D., (far right) spoke about why the international business community should include Sudan in its efforts to combat corruption in Khartoum, Sudan on August 7, 2017.

To this end, CIPE and its local partner, Al Oula, launched an anti-corruption initiative to support the private sector in mitigating corruption at the firm level while engaging in advocacy to promote transparency and limit opportunities for illicit behavior. Dirdeiry M. Ahmed, Ph.D., a passionate advocate for effective, sustainable development in Sudan, delivered a speech at the initiative’s inaugural summit to call attention to the challenges facing the business community in Sudan. We are sharing his speech now in honor of the United Nations’ International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.

Ahmed’s speech traces the historical socio-cultural dynamics that continue to plague the growth of the local economy, the adoption of business ethics, and effective corporate governance in Sudan. It also acknowledges the progress made and makes recommendations for achieving inclusive, private sector-led economic development and stability going forward. Read the article based on Ahmed’s speech.

Lola Adekanye is CIPE’s Anti-Corruption Program Officer based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Supporting Colombia’s Peace Process: Monitoring Economic Regulation and Transparency in the Use of Post-Conflict Resources

Colombia’s peace process aims to bring about reforms that will benefit agricultural families in post-conflict zones.

Introduction by Tim Ridout:

Colombia’s 2016 Peace Accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) made headlines throughout 2016 as it was in the final stretch of negotiations and eventual adoption on November 30, 2016. Although it has since attracted less attention in international news, the ratification of the agreement simply marked the completion of one step in the process. Since then, Colombia’s government, politicians, business community, and civil society leaders have been hard at work implementing the next phase in the accords, which seeks to bring rapid reforms and concrete gains to the Colombian people so they see the benefits of peace, particularly in the zones most affected by the conflict or previously controlled by the FARC. The key is to fill the vacuum quickly to prevent turmoil. Improved economic opportunity has been central to this effort, as have reforms to issues that fueled the conflict, such as coca production, land rights, and corruption.

Blog by Víctor Saavedra:

CIPE has joined forces with Fedesarrollo, Colombia’s primary think tank, in order to complete two objectives. The first is to monitor the extraordinary powers that the president has been given to issue rules that will implement the peace accord signed in December 2016; the second is to do an analysis of the public procurement system in the country and recommend how to more transparently administer the post-conflict resources (which in 2018 will reach nearly one billion U.S. dollars).

Regarding monitoring, Fedesarrollo has published two analyses thus far: one about regulation of a major land reform law (Decree 902 of 2017) and the other about substituting coca cultivation (Decree 896 of 2017). The land reform decree, which implemented one of the primary points of the Peace Accord, affected the processes for assigning, restoring, sanctioning, and regulating the rights of use and property regarding land. The business associations, primarily from the agricultural sector, had serious questions about the rule, which led to debates in the country.

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Ghana’s Growing Pains: Young People’s Economic Priorities Differ from Government’s Plans

Ghana’s disconnect between the government’s focus on agriculture and young people’s desire for better-quality jobs poses an obstacle to democracy and economic development.

Ghana’s millennial generation wants a change to the status quo, and with 57 percent of the country’s population under the age of 25, it is time for leaders to take note. The new government hopes that strengthening the agriculture sector will help to create jobs and combat youth unemployment. However, the government may have to convince young Ghanaians that focusing on agriculture is the right solution, according to a national survey sponsored by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The country’s economic landscape is changing, and with increasing connectivity and the rise of Accra as a regional hub, young people will not be content with their parents’ agricultural jobs. Instead, they want stable work that benefits from the promises of a transitioning economy.

In Ghana, the disconnect between opportunities presented by the government and the type of jobs that young people want poses a major obstacle to democracy and economic development. Education holds the promise of access to better jobs, and the government will be under pressure to deliver these jobs as more of the country’s youth reach working age. What constitutes a quality job for young Ghanaians? For now, the answer does not seem to lie in agricultural jobs. In order to respond to the needs of Ghanaian millennials and support economic growth and transition, it is an increasingly important question to ask.

Cocoa is a top export of West African countries, including Ghana.

Since taking office in early 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has launched five policy initiatives to support agriculture, education access, and job creation, and foster a business-friendly environment. Following Akufo-Addo’s election victory in December of 2016, CIPE and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Ghana conducted a national survey of Ghanaians’ top policy priorities. VOTO Mobile administered the survey via cell phone in March 2017 to 1,641 people across Ghana’s 10 regions. The survey results, as interpreted by CIPE, indicate national support for reducing barriers to education, and a shift away from agriculture among younger Ghanaians.

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