Tag Archives: economy

Women’s Business Resource Center Helps Women Entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea Succeed Against the Odds

Children and women make up the majority of market life in Gerehu, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Ness Kerton for AusAID.

Women in Papua New Guinea face distressing obstacles to achieving leadership roles in business, politics, their communities, and their families. Two-thirds of women there are victims of domestic violence, according to reports. Women and girls are frequently treated like property, and it is not uncommon for them to be bought and sold. Men are twice as likely as women to hold a formal job. It is also very difficult for women to access credit, receive bank loans, and even open a bank account.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others have identified a potential solution this problem: women’s economic empowerment. Research shows that when women have greater economic opportunities and better access to financial resources, they face less risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. If women are able to engage in commerce and earn their own paychecks, they will no longer be financially dependent on their partners. Boosting women’s economic opportunities and gender equality leads to gross domestic product growth, increased income per capita, and greater competitiveness for countries, according to the World Bank.

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Democratic Backsliding in Bulgaria

Protest in Sofia, February 2013, via Wikimedia Commons

The Institute for Market Economics (IME), an independent economic policy think tank in Bulgaria, has sought to define the main challenges to democracy, investigating their roots and identifying possible solutions. In addition to its research, IME recently conducted two surveys. The general sentiment in both surveys confirms that there is a perception of democratic backsliding. Forty-five percent of experts and 61 percent of students polled believe that the quality of democracy in Bulgaria has worsened in recent years, while only 25 percent of experts and 18 percent of students have seen positive developments. The leading challenge to democracy, as identified by IME surveys and roundtable discussions, is state capture. This is the catalyst for problems in the judicial system and widespread political corruption. These trends are compounded by a closing media environment that is increasingly dominated by a politically dependent media.

The latest CIPE Feature Service article examines IME’s key findings and provides recommendations for various stakeholders, including the government, political parties, civil society, media, businesses, donors and the population at large.

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Removing Barriers to Investment in Ukraine

panelists from Identifying and Removing Barriers to Investment in Ukraine

By Eric Hontz and Kathryn Walson

Three years after Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, a centralized, oligarchic power structure has once again taken hold. This has made it challenging to keep the business environment in Ukraine friendly to western investment, as the new power structure allows for increased influence from oligarchs and leads to increased corruption. Further, ongoing hostility with Russia and corruption act as a serious deterrent for western investors, which bring with them demands for higher standards in compliance, governance, and accountability from government institutions.

Because public funding alone cannot solve the country’s infrastructure problems, foreign investment into Ukrainian infrastructure is essential to the country’s ability to increase exports and gross domestic product. Despite this paradox in expectations and reality, an increase in investment in Ukraine has already begun, as Ukraine has consciously turned its efforts towards recruiting western businesses. CIPE and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council co-hosted a panel discussion in June to discuss the investment climate in Ukraine, featuring Volodymr Omelyan, Minister of Infrastructure in Ukraine; former Ambassador John E. Herbst, current Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council; and Matt London, Deputy Managing Director at Amsted Rail Russia-CIS at Amsted Rail Inc.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #75: Mark Oxley and Henry LaGue On Economic Progress in Zimbabwe

2011 CIPE Workshop in Zimbabwe

Henry LaGue sits down in the field with Mark Oxley, a CIPE consultant in Zimbabwe.

Oxley explains how he became involved with the country’s National Chamber of Commerce and CIPE, and he discusses the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. Specifically, the country has a large number of highly educated individuals who are either unemployed or working in the informal sector. Despite economic difficulties, there are opportunities for investing in the country’s infrastructure and tourism.

LaGue provides an update on the accomplishments of the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). CIPE supports WABAZ in building partnerships and networks among women entrepreneurs. CIPE also works with WABAZ to raise awareness on funding opportunities available to women entrepreneurs.

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

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #72: Randa Al-Zoghbi on the launch of finance app Tamweely

Podcast guest Randa Al-Zoghbi

In this episode of Democracy that Delivers, podcast guest Randa Al-Zoghbi, CIPE’s Program Director in Egypt, discussed the release of their new app, Tamweely, in partnership with the World Bank.

The app is designed to connect financiers to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Egypt seeking start-up funding, as well as to provide business education tools and information about the institutional and legal environment for entrepreneurs and startups. Al-Zoghbi also discusses the economic situation in Egypt and the many challenges facing the business community there, and where she sees the app going in the future.

To find out more about Tamweely, visit the app store, android store, or go to their website: tamweely.org.

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

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Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #54: Bill Endsley on How Property Rights Are Essential for Business Development and Economic Growth

Podcast guest Bill Endsley

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Secretary General of the International Real Estate Federation – USA, Bill Endsley, discusses the importance of property rights for economic growth and prosperity.

Endsley talks about how a lack of property rights, or inadequate access to information on property rights, can undermine markets and impede business development. He highlights trends in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and explains how – even in markets where there is thriving real estate development – poorly functioning property markets can undermine the health and sustainability of the economy. He discusses lessons the rest of the world can learn from the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.

Endsley also talks about the property markets scorecard project that has mapped out the ecosystems of property markets in 30 countries so far. He highlights resources available through the project and discusses reforms that have been identified as a result of the scorecards. Learn more about the scorecards at www.propertymarketsscorecard.com

International Real Estate Federation – USA: www.fiabci-usa.com

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Drivers of Violent Extremism

The Kabul Bank scandal is a prominent case of corruption that undermines governance, and an example of one of a number of factors that can drive extremism.

Extremist violence presents a serious threat to democratic values and societies around the world. The last decade has witnessed increased attention to how and why individuals become involved in extremist violence, including “push” and “pull” factors. “Push” factors are underlying conditions favoring the rise or spread of violent extremism (VE). “Pull” factors work on an individual level and have a direct impact on recruitment and radicalization. They include: social status and respect from peers, a sense of belonging, adventure, and self-esteem, and the prospect of achieving glory and fame. There has tended to be an over-emphasis on the search for broad root causes and an under-emphasis on the examination of individual motivations. This tendency has reduced the success of past programs seeking to counter VE. In the future, programming should focus on preventative measures aimed at preempting radicalization by mitigating specific drivers that are known to heighten the likelihood of VE.

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