October 17th is once again the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year’s theme is “From poverty to decent work: Bridging the gap.” Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are prime candidates to create sustainable work for the poor, but they face many obstacles including corruption and cumbersome business environments. Yet in a 2009 Survey on the Business Environment for SMEs in Egypt, CIPE found that not all SMEs surveyed had to pay bribes as part of licensing and registration, and those that didn’t pay bribes actually went through the process faster, on average, than those that did. How could that be?
Perhaps this Egyptian street vendor can now get a loan. Could he also have need for a bank? (http://www.flickr.com/photos/stager57/2219225055/)
This month the World Bank loaned $300 million to the Egyptian government to pass on as loans to Egyptian micro- and small- enterprises (MSEs). Aside from the fact that bureaucrats may seek kickbacks or play favorites when disbursing loans, the move calls into question the role of donor organizations in private sector investment. Should they provide capital directly, which may encourage unsustainable donor dependency? Or should they help build capacity to enable financial intermediaries, who have a long history of providing capital and financial services to clients of all demographics?
"Jua Kali" association staff at a 2004 CIPE training in Kenya. "Jua Kali" is the common Kenyan term for the country's informal sector. (Photo: CIPE)
Association executives from around the world are gathering today in Washington D.C. the 2010 Association International Conference. As part of pre-conference activities, association executives from the U.S. are visiting Capitol Hill today to remind legislators that associations are important drivers of economic and social change.
Was there an open, competitive procurement process used in building this pump, and can this community adapt that process for building anything else? (Photo: Water.org)
Yesterday as I was browsing through BCLC’s global issues web portal on water, I couldn’t help but think about what else corporations might be leaving behind when they’re done a water access project. On the day after a water project is completed, there just might be more that has changed besides greater access to drinkable water. It’s possible that corporations are not just leaving behind tangible projects, but also intangible processes.
Ryan Streeter makes two interesting points in his post on successes of making poverty history. First, he notes that despite what everyone may perceive about poverty eradication, over the past several decades we have achieved tremendous successes in reducing absolute poverty around the world. Building on this, he concludes that many of the efforts to “rethink”, “rebuild”, and “redesign” development approaches are probably misguided. Instead, we should pay greater attention to things that have actually worked over the past 40 years and try to replicate them.
Speaking of development approaches that work. Check out remarks by Greg Lebedev on dilemmas of development assistance and why institutional reform, rather than humanitarian assistance, is key to long-term sustainable development and poverty eradication.
When it comes to global agriculture, you can taste a hint of the African continent’s powerhouse potential in every sip of tea. Kenya is the world’s largest producer of black tea; through its port city of Mombasa flow Kenya’s and almost all the rest of East Africa’s tea. Mombasa’s vast dominance of worldwide tea exports puts it on par with the New York City Mercantile Exchange, Chicago’s Board of Trade, or London’s Metal Exchange. It’s a place where global benchmark prices are set. Kenya’s resilience as a global market for tea is reflected in the fact that even in today’s global recession Kenya’s tea growers were able to capture record revenue for their crops.
Posted in Africa
Tagged Africa, business, business associations, democracy, development, economy, institutions, kenya, market economy, poverty, private sector
When it comes to Nigeria’s vast informal sector, Nigerian public officials can be astonishingly candid. The executive director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), David Adelugba, said at a recent press conference that most of the Nigerian products sold outside the country are not officially exported out of the country.
“Most of the trade done in the export sector are done through the informal means and this affects the level of development in the sector because the government does not have a record to know how the sector is thriving and how much it can contribute to the nation’s development,” Mr. Adelugba said. (“The numbers don’t add up,” 234Next.com, October 21, 2009)