Participants at the EPAC G4G anniversary event in September 2016.
Photo courtesy of the G4G facebook page.
The 2008 Rose Revolution, which marked Georgia’s turn down a more democratic, market-based and Western-oriented path, kicked off a process of robust reforms and aggressive moves headed by then-President Mikheil Saakashvili to tackle the endemic corruption that had long hampered the country’s economic development. The turn was affirmed in 2014 when Georgia signed the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), signaling a commitment to enact further reforms and open its markets to Europe – a step that Georgians envision as eventually leading to EU membership.
However, despite the strong anti-corruption measures enacted after 2008, concerns about the rule of law and quality of governance also arose during that period. While there was not necessarily a threat of reforms being derailed, there were legitimate questions as to how representative the process was under the then-ruling government. Those trends led (in part) to the defeat of Saakashvili’s party in parliamentary elections in 2012, followed by the defeat of the presidential candidate from his party the following year. The business community had generally been in favor of many of the changes enacted under Saakashvili—though small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) did not always have a seat at the table.. With the change in government came some concerns that the economic reform trajectory could be reversed.
This article originally appeared in Arabic on cipe-arabia.org
As I prepared for the final paper of my college years, I recall my unwavering conviction in the infamous saying by Muhammad Yunus – Founder of Grameen Bank – that, “Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations.”
Multiple public policies and methods have been devised, yet the primary objective has always remained unchanged: provide citizens with a decent standard of living. This, I believe, can be achieved through paving the way for entrepreneurial initiatives and creating a just and equitable investment environment, where investors, citizens, workers, and employees alike are familiar with their respective rights and obligations.
Podcast guest Andras Loke
This week on the Democracy that Delivers podcast, President of Transparency International Hungary, András Lőke, discusses the state of democracy in Hungary and the hard work it takes to maintain that system over time. He also discusses the cultural differences between countries in Central Europe and how culture can influence democratic development. Lőke is also founder and editor-in-chief of www.Ittlakunk.hu, a group of websites covering 23 Budapest neighborhoods that receives 800,000 unique visitors a month. He speaks about the government’s influence on the media. Lőke also talks about how corruption undermines democracy and the “economy within the economy” that institutionalizes corruption in Hungary.
Lőke recently spoke at the conference The Illiberal Turn?: Reasserting Democratic Values in Central and Eastern Europe. The conference was co-hosted by CIPE with the Atlantic Council, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. You can conference presentations and panel discussions on the Atlantic Council website.
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By Lindsey Klaassen
This piece originally appeared on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Above the Fold blog.
Developing countries tend to experience higher costs to trade and are ill-equipped to navigate through the mire of international border requirements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) established the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in part to address this very challenge.
The TFA is unique in several respects, as it was the first multilateral trade agreement set forth by the WTO, and it was intentionally designed to make cross-border trade easier for developing countries. Once fully implemented, it is estimated that the TFA will reduce trade costs by up to 15 percent for developing countries and increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion annually by increasing customs efficiency and cutting red tape that impedes the efficient flow of goods at the border.
By Michael Merriam
In recent months, research on global trade has been divided over the effects of a long negotiated trade partnership for twelve Pacific Rim nations. Signed by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is, by GDP of signatory nations, the largest free trade pact in the history of the world. With many standards and provisions, the agreement’s depths contain articles that deal with a variety of subjects ranging from intellectual property rights to environmental protection. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, there will be 18,000 different taxes on American products that will be reduced or eliminated by adoption of the TPP. Beyond the benefits to the United States, the increased trade promotion and tariff reduction of the TPP promises to advance job creation, good governance, trade competitiveness, and stable economic growth on both sides of the pacific. Most significantly, the TPP incorporates greater trade facilitation requirements than past regional trade pacts, a hopeful sign for the future of global trade.
Discussion moderator Andrew Wilson (far left) with panelists Alicia Phillips Mandaville, Chris Maloney, and Beth Tritter.
This week’s podcast is a recording of an event CIPE co-hosted on September 15th with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in recognition of the International Day of Democracy. Following each of its quarterly Board of Directors meetings, MCC works with other partners to convene conversations of importance to the development community. This event provided a brief update of the recent MCC Board Meeting, and brought together thought leaders to discuss the role of democracy in development.
Sustainable development and reducing poverty are primary objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Panelists demonstrated how the SDG goals that pertain to democratic governance are vital to reducing poverty, creating jobs, boosting economic growth, and making sure that development is sustainable. They discussed how strong democratic institutions, a robust rule of law, and inclusive economic policies that create a level playing field for everyone are essential elements of a development agenda with lasting impact. The discussion was moderated by CIPE Managing Director [then Executive Director (acting)] Andrew Wilson.
via Wikimedia Commons
This blog originally appeared in Arabic on CIPE-Arabia.org.
Indeed, Egypt is going through a very difficult period. The current economic situation is intrinsically linked to the accumulated weight of poorly addressed economic challenges over the past forty years. Economic problems were either ignored, or in other instances, their root causes were not addressed in a profound and decisive manner. On the other hand, undoubtedly, Egypt has all the capabilities to become one of the largest world economies. This potential has been noted in reports of financial institutions such as the 2010 Citibank report.
The current difficulty stems from fact that there is no alternative to undertaking a comprehensive economic reform program. However, in the short run all Egyptians- the wealthy, the poor, and the middle class, will have to bear the brunt of these reforms. That said, with sound management of reform program, Egyptians will enjoy the fruits of reform in the medium to long run.
There can be no doubt that enacting economic reforms is crucial for Egypt’s progress. Thus, “No,” is my final unequivocal answer to the most critical question of whether Egypt has other alternatives to entering into the loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).