Tag Archives: Senegal

Teach a (Wo)man How to Fish: The Changing World of International Development

Coalition members meet with political parties. (Photo: @sentellbarnes, IRI)

Members of CIPE-supported business coalitions in Nigeria meet with political parties. (Photo: @sentellbarnes, IRI)

By Laura Boyette and Teodora Mihaylova

It is only natural that the world of international development would itself develop and change over the years to adapt to the changing landscape of needs and local capacity.

At a panel discussion at Georgetown University entitled “The Changing World of International Development,” three development practitioners from leading organizations provided some insight into how their work has changed over the years. The speakers emphasized how local ownership has become central to the planning and implementation of their projects.

Traditionally, the development field was focused on delivery of goods and services, especially in regions suffering humanitarian crises due to natural disasters or conflict. Over the years as the importance of local ownership of development projects became evident, the development landscape shifted to focus more on the provision of supplies and money to local actors to deploy as they saw fit. Both approaches have limitations: a mismatch between resources available and local needs, limited local capacity, delays that significantly diminish chances of success, and often corrupt actors at various points of delivery.

These days, international development actors are focusing more on building local capacity and less on the delivery of goods and services. Building local capacity in service delivery, project management, governance, advocacy, and democratic institutions does not just meet the immediate needs of the community. It also increases the sustainability of development interventions beyond the life of a particular project. Increasing local capacity both ensures the success of the project and creates a multiplier effect as local organizations take over responsibility.

CIPE’s model is locally oriented and and locally driven. Building local capacity has been central to the CIPE strategy for 30 years. Whether it’s through our national business agenda process or through legislative outreach programs that help educate local members of parliament or assembly on the economic and democratic policies and their potential impact, CIPE’s international work focuses on empowering local partners to become agents of change in their communities.

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Case Study: Public-Private Dialogue in Senegal

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

The private sector is a key actor in efforts to promote economic growth, reform the business climate, and strengthen democratic policymaking worldwide. Businesses possess the know-how to analyze economic conditions and identify obstacles and opportunities for growth, while governments have the means to pass business-friendly legislation.

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

The latest case study from the forthcoming publication Strategies for Policy Reform discusses CIPE’s experience assisting the advancement of policy dialogue in Senegal that supports market-oriented reforms and private sector development.

As Senegal’s largest, most representative and well-organized business association, l’Union Nationale des Commerçants et Industriels du Senegal (UNACOIS) has played a key role in the country’s policymaking process by engaging the government in public private dialogue. At regional and cross-regional dialogue sessions jointly organized by UNACOIS and CIPE, UNACOIS members identified the nation’s complex tax code and high tax rates for SME operators as a major cause of informality in the SME sector. With CIPE support, UNACOIS developed an evidence-based policy paper on tax reform, held public-private dialogue meetings with relevant stakeholders, and presented these recommendations to government officials.

Read about UNACOIS’s successes in reforming the Senegalese Tax Code, establishing a mechanism for regular, ongoing public-private dialogue, and reducing informality here.

Teodora Mihaylova is Research Coordinator at CIPE.

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


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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CIPE In Francophone Africa: The Lost Chapters

Participants in CIPE's 2010 program in Cote d'Ivoire. (Photo: CIPE staff)

Participants in CIPE’s 2010 program in Cote d’Ivoire. (Photo: CIPE staff)

Part of my mandate as Program Officer for West and Central Africa is to establish a sustainable CIPE presence in Francophone Africa, a group of countries where CIPE appears to have a light footprint. So, it was with a solid sense of purpose that I embarked on my most recent CIPE mission to Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, only to realize that my CIPE predecessors had already done fantastic work, which accounts for CIPE’s popularity within civil society circles in many Francophone countries.

You can imagine Neil Armstrong and his crew, possessed by that light mix of excitement and apprehension in their underbelly as they headed for the moon, anticipating being the first humans to acquaint themselves with it, only to get there and be welcomed by a bunch of encamped Russians: “Ah, Americans … you finally made it.” — I would be untruthful not to admit that a part of me felt outflanked by my CIPE predecessors.

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Achieving Impact in Senegal


My recent visit to Dakar, Senegal, where I met with longtime CIPE partner, l’Union National des Commercants et Industriels du Senegal (UNACOIS) was very informative and revealed how much impact a good CIPE partnership can bring to bear.

The decade-long partnership between CIPE and UNACOIS – a Senegalese private sector association with 70,000 members who operate small and medium enterprises, mainly in the informal sector — is proving increasingly consequential within Senegal’s civil society circles. CIPE and UNACOIS have partnered on three programs whose core objective was to enhance UNACOIS’ internal governance capacity.

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Business Associations Supporting Democracy in Senegal

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

A critical aspect to fulfilling CIPE’s vision is partnership with local organizations, who are not only capable of effectively advocating for policy reforms, but also possess the requisite commitment to democracy and economic development. In Senegal, CIPE is helping to support the country’s democratic consolidation through a multi-year partnership with the Union Nationale des Commercants et Industriels du Senegal (UNACOIS), now Senegal’s largest business association.

Such partnerships endure the inevitable setbacks of advocacy initiatives, delivering marginal progress in the short-term, while ultimately effecting long-term systemic changes. Such partnerships are particularly difficult to foster in the West Africa sub-region of Sub-Sahara Africa, where persistent armed conflicts – along with unfavorable social, economic, religious, and political dynamics – have conspired to imbue most people with significant cynicism towards democratic ideals.

CIPE partnered with UNACOIS on three projects between 2002 and 2008 to help the organization improve its member relations and internal governance.  This assistance reinforced UNACOIS’ national scope and grassroots reach, thereby contributing to its development into Senegal’s largest business association, with 80,000 members — nearly 70 percent of whom operate in the informal sector.

After consolidating its organizational governance, UNACOIS recently partnered with CIPE on a project whose objective is to empower and support the SME sector to engage in effective public-private dialogue. With its enhanced institutional capacity and its commitment to the CIPE mission, UNACOIS was able to deliver meaningful impact long before the end of the project. The final project activity was a public-private dialogue between UNACOIS, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and the Informal Sector, and other relevant stakeholders from public and private sectors.

The event took place on January 30th, 2013 at the Pullman Hotel in Dakar, Senegal. El Hadj Malik Gakou, the Minister of Commerce, Industry, and the Informal Sector, presided over the event, which had 93 attendees. The attendees were from the Ministries of Finance, Employment, Commerce, and Taxes and Customs; Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Tax and Customs; members of UNACOIS’ national and regional leadership teams; the Senegal National Employers’ Association (CNES); and print and TV media.

UNACOIS and CIPE developed a Public-Private Dialogue document, which was utilized to animate the PPD discussions. The PPD document sought to achieve two main objectives (links in French):

1)      To highlight

  • The importance of the SME  and informal sectors to political, economic, and social stability;
  • The local challenges that bedevil Senegal’s SME operators, especially those in the informal sector;
  • Best international practices in creating entrepreneurial societies.

2)      To recommend

  • Government support for the creation of regional SME co-operatives, which would provide benefits such as;
    • Improved access to finance through a collective guarantee system;
    • Better access to compete for public tenders;
    • Economies of scale for SME operators within each region.
    • The adoption of new technologies in vocational training, which would provide benefits such as;
      • Overcoming the issue of low literacy levels among Senegal’s SME operators.
      • Government support for sustained public-private dialogue between UNACOIS and the various provincial governments.

The Minister of Commerce, Industry, and the Informal Sector was impressed by the methodology that predicated the document’s findings and assertions. He promised to consult with the Prime Minister of Senegal, who – according to the Francophone system of governance – is the executive leader of the government. On February 4, 2013, UNACOIS received an official invitation from the Prime Minister for a meeting to discuss UNACOIS’ recommendations.

Such successes by UNACOIS, along with other recent ones, have raised its profile across West Africa as a leading business association. CIPE partners in other West Africa countries such as Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mali repeatedly cite CIPE’s partnership with UNACOIS as a point of reference. By all indications, the partnership between CIPE and UNACOIS should bear positive consequences in the future. This promise now exists because UNACOIS is fulfilling its potential for strong internal governance and effective advocacy. Most importantly, this promise now exists because UNACOIS possesses a commitment to CIPE’s mission.

Supporting Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Senegal

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese business leaders and President Macky Sall. Watch here (in Wolof)

Caught between the West African Sahel and tropical regions, Senegal is one of the more stable democracies among Francophone countries in Africa. Its record on democratic governance extends back to its independence from under French colonial rule. However, in the economic sphere, it has remained second-best to Cote d’Ivoire – which, with Nigeria, is one of the region’s top two economic powerhouses – and hence assumed a lower international profile.

Nevertheless, with an overwhelmingly young population, food security and unemployment challenges, and its geographic and cultural proximity to neighboring countries that host various radical Islamist groups, Senegal is in need of a vibrant private sector that can contribute to inclusive economic development. Such an outcome is important to Senegal’s democratic stability, as it addresses issues of food security, the religious radicalization of masses of unemployed youth, and the rise to prominence of illicit trades in arms and humans across West Africa.

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