Tag Archives: romania

A Model of Peaceful Revolution

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By Madalina Maria Iancu, 2013 CIPE Blog Competition Winner. Read the other winning blogs here.

There are not many “peaceful” revolutions in the history of mankind, especially during the last decades of our modern history. Even if we think to join these two words — “revolution” and “peaceful” — it does sound a bit unusual.

This is the reason why I chose to write about this example of a totally atypical revolution, which happened recently in Iceland. In my opinion, the Icelandic Revolution is an example of the fact that a revolution doesn’t have to be violent and bloody but peaceful and civilized and with a positive approach things can be changed in order to improve the status quo and to create a better standard of living.

There were also other movements also called “peaceful,” as it is a new paradigm, but still…nothing like Iceland.

One of the characteristics that made this revolution so atypical is its duration. It all started in 2008, when the main bank of Iceland was nationalized, the currency of Iceland devalued and the stock market halted. The country was in bankruptcy. During 2008 – 2009 as a result of the citizen’s protests and demonstrations, both the prime minster and the whole government resigned. New elections were held. In spite of these changes, Iceland remained in a bad economic situation. 

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Public Private Dialogue: How Business Promotes Economic Development and Democratic Governance

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The private sector is a key actor in efforts to promote economic growth, reform the business climate and strengthen democratic policymaking worldwide. Dialogue is a key part of the Busan process, which recognizes that the for-profit private sector is a central driver of development and emphasizes the importance of inclusive dialogue for building a policy environment conducive to sustainable development.” Businesses possess the know-how of economic conditions, obstacles and opportunities for growth, while governments have the means to pass business-friendly legislation.

From a democratic point of view, a vibrant private contribution to dialogue expands participation in policymaking by creating space for civic engagement in governance, improves the quality of business representation and supplements the performance of democratic institutions.

Building upon its longstanding experience in the field, CIPE has been invited to participate in the 7th Annual Public Private Dialogue Global Workshop organized by the World Bank, BMZ-The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and GIZ in Frankfurt, Germany.

Senior Knowledge Manager Kim Bettcher will moderate a session on long term public private dialogue sustainability and the role of chambers of commerce and business associations. Director of Multiregional Programs Anna Nadgrodkiewicz will make a presentation on a new initiative between the CIPE, the World Bank Institute, and development partners on building an open and collaborative platform for public private dialogue resources.

CIPE has extensive experience in advancing policy dialogue around the world and supports market-oriented reform and private sector development by mobilizing representative business associations and strengthening their capacity to advocate for policy solutions. CIPE also invests in business association development that enables effective dialogue. Some regional success stories in public private dialogue are outlined in more detail below.

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US Embassy in Romania Hosts Discussion on Women Entrepreneurs

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Earlier this month, the US Embassy in Romania organized an event with women entrepreneurs and students titled, “Women Entrepreneurs in Romania: Perspectives from the Public and Private Sectors.” Speakers at the event included the Minister of SMEs, Maria Grapini, and Gabriela Chiriac, President of the Women’s Association of Entrepreneurs in Galati. Both guest speakers have been closely involved in all the activities dedicated to women entrepreneurs in Romania including the creation of the Coalition of Women Business Associations (CAFA) and are dedicated to consolidating entrepreneurship in Romania.

The discussion brought together several members of CAFA, women entrepreneurs, and students interested in opening their own businesses.  In discussing entrepreneurship and how to become successful in business, Grapini shared her personal experience in developing a personal brand as a manager and entrepreneur.  While focusing on the idea that in order to be successful entrepreneurs need to unite, Chiriac stated very clearly, “Entrepreneurs unite your forces!”

Grapini also mentioned the Open Doors Campaign as a source of valuable advocacy experience  for Romanian private sector representatives. The Open Doors Campaign was a CIPE-supported initiative centered around three grassroots coalitions which developed and promoted policy recommendations as part of a unified business agenda in 2002-2003.

Though both ladies emphasized the value statement behind the brand as the most important element in building a good and consistent reputation, their message to the young students and other women in the room was to be professional, stay with your values, and be consistent.  It is a very strong message as positive values need constant reinforcement these days, in Romania as well as in many other countries.

For more information, see the press release published by the US Embassy here.

Camelia Bulat is Executive Director of the Regional Center for Organization Management.

This article was originally posted on the Community of Women Entrepreneurs blog.

The voice of businesswomen in Romania

CIPE board member Ambassador Barbara Barrett (center) visits CAFA in Romania

This year marks the seventh anniversary of a project that is special to us at the CIPE Regional Office in Romania. In 2004, CIPE supported the creation of the Coalition of Women Business Associations (CAFA), the first-ever and to date only such organization in Romania. A small informal organization at the time, it has since grown to include 19 women’s business associations across the country. Members of CAFA joined this coalition to ensure that their interests as businesswomen are represented and that they have a sound platform to express their views. Their main objective is to help build a strong business community, under the motto “value has no gender.”

CAFA has a rotating secretariat and holds a conference each year, in order to review successes and plans for the following year. The most recent conference (held in June 2011) was inspired by the idea “you are the change.” The participants engaged in discussions about CAFA’s plans in 2011, including organizing communication and advocacy seminars, discussing legislation with authorities, and establishing partnerships with companies in other countries, such as Canada.

CAFA has built a sound reputation for itself over the years, and is now acknowledged as a significant partner in the public-private dialogue on economic policymaking. One example is CAFA’s advocacy effort to improve the fiscal climate in Romania. More specifically, in 2010, the coalition submitted a protest to the Cabinet in reference to a number of unfriendly fiscal and financial measures that the government has adopted in order to increase its budget. Under the slogan “We Care”, CAFA suggested a set of ten alternative measures that should help support the business environment, especially because some fiscal measures that were adopted by the government in 2009 have resulted in the closure of around 150,000 small and medium businesses.

The interaction between CAFA and the officials is a good example of the normal functioning of civil society and stresses the importance of coalitions in advocacy activities. It also attests to the role of CAFA as a legitimate advocate for the interests of the women’s business community that it represents. Moreover, the fact that CAFA is determined to pursue its advocacy efforts will further consolidate its status and attract other stakeholders to work for the same cause.

We hope that the example set by CAFA encourages other organizations to put more effort into furthering the interests of the people and sectors they represent. To learn more about CAFA’s work join us at CIPE’s upcoming Democracy that Delivers for Women conference June 20-21 in Washington DC where Camelia Bulat, director of CIPE Romania, will attend. Ambassador Barbara Barrett, who has been a friend of CAFA for many years, will also be a speaker. It is not too late to register! www.democracythatdelivers.com

How do you get policymakers to listen?

Many economic and governance challenges cannot be solved without input from the private sector. The private sector has essential knowledge of what drives business growth. Yet all too often policymaking excludes private sector input. As a result, bureaucracy and corruption drive up operational costs and push entrepreneurs into the informal economy.

The private sector and civil society, however, can take concerted action to address such challenges and help open up the policy process. Strategies for Policy Reform, Volume 2: Engaging Entrepreneurs in Democratic Governance—from the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)—explores real-world examples of successful attempts to get policymakers’ attention.

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Romanian emigrants’ remittances – potential engine for economic rebound

According to a recent article in the Romanian media, Romania is among the top ten countries in the world to benefit from remittances. The International Agency for Source Country Information (IASCI), an Austrian non-governmental organization, has been conducting a project with the Soros Foundation focusing on the impact of migration on financial investments in Romania – the first study of this kind to be developed in a European Union country. The project, which will be finalized in November, aims to highlight the extent of Romanian migrants’ remittances and their impact on the development of their home country.

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In for the long haul: the Coalition of Women’s Business Associations in Romania

It’s all about advocacy and sustainability… The Coalition of Women’s Business Associations, created in 2004 with CIPE’s support, keeps on advocating.

“A few months ago, the Coalition of Women’s Business Associations, Romania, submitted a protest to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, in reference to a number of unfriendly fiscal and financial measures that the government has adopted, in order to increase its budget. The Coalition’s protest recently received an official response from Alexandru Nazare, State Secretary at the Ministry of Public Finance…”

Read the story by Paula Anastasiade, from CIPE’s Regional Office in Romania, at the Community of Women Entrepreneurs.