Tag Archives: private sector

Democracy that Delivers #89: Jaime Arteaga on the Importance of the Private Sector in Colombia’s Peace Process

From left: podcast guests Natalia Velásquez and Jaime Arteaga, guest host John Zemko and host Pamela Kelley Lauder

As part of its post-war recovery plan, Colombia’s government is offering big incentives to businesses that expand operations there and reaching out to local communities for input.

The new program is a critical part of Colombia’s ongoing peace process, according to Jaime Arteaga, CIPE’s lead in-country consultant.

The government is promising huge tax breaks to companies that make long-term investments in Colombia’s post-conflict regions, many of which are highly-populated and rich in natural resources.  In this week’s podcast, Arteaga and CIPE Regional Director John Zemko discuss the challenges and benefits of increased private sector activity in Colombia.

Read Arteaga’s thoughts on Colombia’s peace accord and its impact on investment here.

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

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #87: Imtiaz Gul on the Role of Civil Society and the Private Sector in Pakistan

From left: podcast guest Imtiaz Gul, guest host Vivek Shivaram and host Pamela Kelley Lauder

This week’s podcast guest is Imtiaz Gul, founder and executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), a Pakistan-based think tank.

In the podcast, Gul discusses the role that the business community and civil society can play in reducing extremism in South Asia. If disenfranchised people gain access to more job opportunities, they have less incentive to join extremist groups, he explains.

Because Pakistan’s ruling elites are preoccupied with maintaining power and status, they often settle for short-term economic solutions and exclude civil society and the private sector from economic decisions. This leads to stunted economic and political growth for the country.

CRSS has partnered with CIPE to create an open dialogue between the Pakistani Parliament and civil society and private sector.

Visit crss.pk, for more information about the think tank.

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

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

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The Local Private Sector is Vital to Peacebuilding and Reconstruction

Two women now earn a living producing yams in their field after peace returned to Burundi. Photo by Pamela Beecroft.

By Morgan Frost and Pamela Beecroft

CIPE works with partners in a number of conflict-affected contexts around the world. While political, security and humanitarian issues typically draw the most attention, CIPE has found there are major benefits to working with the local private sector on economic issues at almost every stage of a conflict and recovery cycle. As the examples below illustrate, local businessmen and women can play a unique and indispensable role in reducing violence, building peace, and rebuilding countries and communities.

In Mexico, the notorious Tijuana Cartel, which had gathered strength during the 1990s, dominated large swaths of the city, turning it into a battlefield that endangered citizens and deterred businesses. In 2006 and 2007, local businesses, civil society, and government leaders worked together to develop solutions to effectively reclaim the community from criminal networks. For a time, their efforts succeeded in significantly reducing violence and improving the city’s economic life. In 2015, CIPE led a project that helped Tijuana tell its story, which showed how private sector leadership and collaboration with government and civil society can address high levels of criminal violence. Since then, violence has sky-rocketed again in the city for a number of reasons. CIPE will help Tijuana business leaders and their allies seek to repeat their past success and improve life for citizens and businesses again while refining the earlier model and collecting new evidence about what works.

Even in fragile environments like the Democratic Republic of Congo, economic activity continues, creating an opportunity for a peaceful and sustainable future. Photo by Pamela Beecroft.

In Syria, CIPE helped a group of Syrian business leaders build an economic think tank, now based in southern Turkey, called the Syrian Economic Forum (SEF). The organization is a leading source of information and analysis about the economic situation in Syria, as well as an originator of market-oriented solutions, which humanitarian agencies, local councils, and other stakeholders can use to respond to the situation on the ground. SEF has also expanded opportunities for displaced Syrian businesspeople in Turkey by negotiating access to an underutilized free economic zone and facilitating the transition of Syrian-owned businesses into the formal economy. Other initiatives encourage entrepreneurship, including a new CIPE-led project to incubate food-based enterprises and provide workforce training in the food sector.

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Private Sector Plays Crucial Role in Improving Public Services in Arab Nations

Electricity workers repair cables in Sidon, Lebanon (via The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

When governments have exclusive control over the provision of goods and services, citizens are trapped without an alternative. Because the state monopolizes the entire market, there is no competition to ensure fair prices, sufficient quality, and satisfactory customer service. Taxpayer money is poured into government services, ostensibly to improve their quality, yet private citizens rarely see improvements. For example, many homes and businesses in Lebanon lose power for hours on a daily basis. Public servants are similarly inefficient, making basic bureaucratic procedures a nightmare.

The Lebanese Institute for Market Studies (LIMS), an independent economic think tank in Beirut, advocates for the implementation of free-market economic policies in Lebanon. LIMS’ current work focuses on the government’s inability to reliably provide electricity throughout the country. With CIPE’s support, LIMS launched a campaign to create awareness of the need to repeal the electricity subsidy, stop government investment in the sector, and open the sector to private competition. As a result of LIMS’ advocacy efforts, the Lebanese government announced in February that it would repeal the electricity subsidy this year. The government also announced in June that it decided not to lease Turkish power-generating ships after Lebanese officials discovered bidding process irregularities. These decisions represent progress towards LIMS’ reform objectives.

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Associations Play an Important Role in Improving Ukraine’s Business Climate

CIPE expert Nataliia Kobylchak (left) and Mykolaiv coalition member Iryna Yerofeyeva (right) at CIPE’s M-Test training in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

By Nataliya Zhuhay and Caroline Elkin

As in any state ruled by law, local government officials in Ukraine are obligated to work within the framework of existing laws when developing regulations. But in practice, the regulations they create often act as obstacles for entrepreneurs to run their businesses. These flawed regulations can be poorly written, full of holes that corrupt officials can exploit, or do not correspond to existing laws. Until recently, such regulations did not take into account the costs they imposed, for example, on the café owner who wants to open a summertime terrace—or for that matter, any other basic entrepreneurial activity.

In December 2015, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution requiring all legislators to calculate the cost of implementing regulations for small businesses. This procedure is known as the M-Test. Although the resolution seems to represent a victory for Ukrainian business owners, many challenges remain. First, previously adopted regulations are not subject to the M-Test. Secondly, officials are not required to examine existing regulations for their corruption potential. Thirdly, the State Regulatory Service of Ukraine is unable to change problematic regulations because it can only make recommendations. Thus, only the courts are capable of compelling local governments to withdraw or change regulations. In practice, though, entrepreneurs are reluctant to pursue such matters in court, preferring instead to keep their heads down. As a result, the conditions for doing business on the local level discourage entrepreneurs rather than encourage them.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #81: Vaqar Ahmed on Growth in Pakistan’s Private Sector

From left: podcast guest Vaqar Ahmed and guest hosts Maria Philip and Vivek Shivaram

This week’s guest on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast is Vaqar Ahmed, Ph.D. Ahmed is deputy executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

In this podcast, Ahmed discusses CIPE’s partnership with SDPI, the growth of Pakistan’s economy, and the country’s need for a thriving private sector. After a decade of low gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Pakistan’s economy has begun to improve. The private sector will play a key role in the country’s economic turnaround, and a free, transparent market is necessary for the private sector to flourish.

SDPI’s main aim is to provide a sustainable development community in Pakistan by addressing such issues as climate change, food security and tax reform. With CIPE’s support, SDPI has developed economic programs that have received support from members of the Pakistani parliament.

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.

 

Mobile App Gives Investors Instant Access to Corporate Governance Information

App demonstration, watch the full video on the website here.

The recently launched Elapedia app gives investors around the world instant access to corporate governance practices at 100 publically listed companies in the four Pacific Alliance countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). The free Spanish-language app, which relies on publically available data, provides information about boards’ policies related to managing conflicts of interest, risk management, and other topics of interest to investors.

“Until now, there was no easy way to compare information on corporate governance between Pacific Alliance countries,” said Andrew Wilson, CIPE managing director. “With this useful tool, investors can quickly become informed on corporate governance requirements. It’s a way to access that information without having to dig through multiple sources. This app will be a huge benefit to large companies looking to invest, put up a subsidiary or buy a company in Pacific Alliance countries.”

The Elapedia app, which was supported by CIPE and developed by Governance Consultants S.A., represents an important step toward the economic and commercial integration of Pacific Alliance countries. By efficiently harmonizing corporate governance practices, the app will greatly improve the flow of investments and help to strengthen Latin American economies.

Established in 2011, the Pacific Alliance’s goals include establishing the free movement of goods, services and people; driving economic growth; and overcoming socioeconomic inequality. Pacific Alliance countries have made significant progress toward improving standards for corporate governance by fulfilling requirements set forth by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Wilson said.

“With this user-friendly app, CIPE hopes to provide a valuable public service in line with one of our key focus areas—encouraging good corporate governance,” Wilson said. “Good corporate governance is critical to the integrity of business operations and to the overall institutional health of countries because it creates demand for better public governance and prevents devastating economic failures. The Elapedia app is intended to promote transparency and accountability, level the playing field, and encourage the disclosure or elimination of conflicts of interest.”

The Elapedia App can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

John Zemko is the Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean at CIPE.