This blog is the first in a three-part series addressing recent findings of the Arab Barometer, whose objectives include the production of scientifically reliable data on the political attitudes of ordinary citizens.
For Iraq, bombing ISIS out of existence is impossible and counterintuitive. Job creation that drives balanced economic growth, on the other hand, is not only feasible but badly needed. The policy narratives may be slowly shifting away from a security focus towards a holistic reform that prioritizes job creation. Academics, development experts, and even the U.S. President are beginning to realize that providing economic outlets for Iraqis, particularly potential militants, to put food on the table and send their children to school might be the long-term silver bullet.
This should not be a difficult message to sell: economic opportunity – not martyrdom, not anti-Western ideology, not even the Syrian Civil War – is far and away the most important issue for all Arabs whether they are for, against, or undecided about ISIS. Below is an analysis of three recent opinion polls showing that, whereas much remains to divide the Iraqi people, job creation continues to unite them and should be the thrust of coalition-building and reconstruction efforts emanating from Baghdad and Washington.
Health care professionals in Egypt conduct a stakeholder analysis to help spell out governance principles for Egyptian hospitals.
A hip replacement in the United States, paid for out-of-pocket (i.e., without health insurance), would cost anywhere from $11,000 to $125,000, depending on what hospital you go to, according to a 2013 survey of 100 hospitals featured on National Public Radio. And that was among the hospitals that, when asked, could actually produce a quote – 40 of the 100 hospitals surveyed couldn’t quote a price at all.
Those fortunate enough to have insurance don’t need to worry about price-shopping. When I go to my primary care physician, I pay a $20 co-pay. (Under our previous insurance, provided by my wife’s former employer, it was $10. Why the difference? Who knows?) I have no idea how much my insurance company pays the doctor. I suppose I could find out, but… honestly? There’s really no compelling reason for me to do so. It’s $20 no matter who I see.
And it turns out that, even if there were more incentive for me to price-shop, more expensive hospitals aren’t necessarily better hospitals, according to a 2014 study.
Amid the lingering effects of the global financial crisis, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the strategy behind international aid. The question is whether to continue with traditional projects that seek to alleviate poverty through the provision of basic human needs such as health care, education, and food security, or to refocus efforts on building the capacity of local governance thereby making developing countries capable of addressing these issues on their own. While this debate has been around for at least two decades, current budgetary constraints in donor countries have brought the conversation back into focus.
Speaking in terms of policy, there has long been consensus on the fact that better governance leads to more vigorous economic growth. Regardless of rhetoric, however, donor agencies have continued to channel the majority of their resources toward areas like infrastructure, agricultural development, and education. This must change if the development community wants to meet its goals.
On a panel at the Center for Strategic International Studies, Executive Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) John Sullivan joined three other discussants – including a World Bank VP and U.S. Ambassador – to talk about the nexus between governance and growth. The panelists unanimously agreed that governance, specifically democratic governance, is a crucial element of moving developing countries off of foreign aid. Good governance is an enabler that allows developing countries to better utilize donor funding and develop sustainable, local solutions to challenges.
The United Nations recently published a report of the High-Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda. The 27-member panel is composed of leaders from civil society, the private sector, and government – including Betty Maina, the Chief Executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), one of the country’s leading business associations and a long-time CIPE partner.
The panel’s finding were based on extensive consultations with more than 5,000 civil society organizations in about 120 countries and CEOs of 250 companies in 30 countries with annual revenues exceeding $8 trillion, as well as academics from developed and developing countries, international and local NGOs, and parliamentarians.
The report concludes that the post-2015 agenda for the international community to agree upon before the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) needs to be driven by five big, transformative shifts:
- Leave No One Behind
- Put Sustainable Development at the Core
- Transform Economies for Jobs and Inclusive Growth
- Build Peace and Effective, Open and Accountable Public Institutions
- Forge a new Global Partnership
In a recent blog post, Karol Boudreaux, Director for Investments at the Omidyar Network, references this report and rightfully notes that property rights are key to achieving MDGs – in particular the first two: ending poverty and empowering girls and women – and therefore crucial to the success of these larger post-2015 goals as well. She says, “new attention is focused on encouraging bottom-up, participatory efforts that recognize and formalize the legitimate rights that individuals (including women and girls), communities and businesses hold to a variety of resources.” That matters tremendously because the poor – both informal urban entrepreneurs and small farmers – are the largest group of business people in the world.
The implementation gap – the difference between laws on books and how they function in reality – is a problem experienced all around the world. Member countries of the East African Community (EAC) agreed on the removal of non-tariff barriers in 2007, but implementing the policy has been extremely slow. As India’s currency declined significantly against the dollar this week, investors in India voiced their eagerness and frustration of the Indian government’s slow pace of implementing rules aimed to attracting foreign investment and spurring growth.
Why do policies sometimes take so much time to be implemented, or in some cases, are never enforced? In the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article, I explore these questions as I summarize and highlight CIPE and Global Integrity’s co-authored guidebook, Improving Public Governance: Closing the Implementation Gap Between Law and Practice.
To find out more about how to address implementation gaps, read the article here.
One of the most famous opening lines in all of literature comes from the great Russian novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” With that, Tolstoy encapsulates a simple truth: dysfunction takes myriad forms. That’s not to say that one cannot learn from another’s experience. Indeed, some of the most important lessons can come from those who have already tried and failed. Experience is singular, but patterns can illuminate.
It is in that same spirit that Boris Begović writes the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article, which offers Serbia’s lessons in democratic transition to countries currently in flux. Dr. Begović, a longtime CIPE partner who was a chief economic adviser to the federal government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 15 months during 2000-2002, examines the approaches that worked for Serbia—and those that didn’t. Read the full text of The Serbian Experience in Transition.