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- Addressing the challenges of poverty and marginalization through multi-stakeholder partnerships is key to building prosperous and inclusive societies.
- Private sector engagement in shaping the post-2015 development agenda is needed to achieve this shared goal.
- Public-private dialogue provides an important platform for businesses and governments to constructively engage in creating more participatory and sustainable economies.
Accepting Responsibility: Moving Beyond Political and Economic Dependence in Post Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the decade that has passed since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone through the painful process of trying to rebuild a country that was destroyed physically, socially, economically, and politically. Reconstruction of the infrastructure, which drew billions of dollars in aid from the international community, is almost complete, but the economy remains weak and the political system is unstable. Privatization efforts, seen as key to economic recovery, were hampered by a lack of healthy money, and most large companies have yet to be privatized. With a government structure that is dependent on the international community’s approval, and an economy that seemed to flourish only because of donor assistance and the gray economy, a new acceptance of responsibility by local governments and business communities is necessary for a true recovery as Bosnia and Herzegovina looks towards European integration. The private sector can lead this initiative by joining together to advocate for economic reforms that will encourage entrepreneurship, local investment, and foreign direct investment.Read more...
Corporate governance scandals in developed countries and the increasingly obvious lack of the appropriate institutions in other countries – property rights, the rule of law, etc. – necessitated the OECD revise their principles for corporate governance, originally issued in 1999. The improvements made in 2003 incorporated input from emerging markets to address the prevalence of family-owned business, privately held firms, and others not traded publicly on stock market. Adopted voluntarily, corporate governance standards and corporate citizenship practices, as well, do not become a burden on employers, but a sustainable way to engage the leadership of business to help shape a better society and healthy private sector.Read more...
During Lebanon’s civil war, local warlords and militias replaced unifying public institutions as the basis of government and social services. The extension of wartime elites into the post-war political system, a common feature in post-conflict countries, resulted in a system ostensibly designed to promote cooperation among competing factions but which, in reality, removed all checks and balances and facilitated the diversion of state resources for private financial and political gain. Government mismanagement combined with the elements of reconstruction – large public works projects, inflows of international assistance, privatizations – provides a recipe for systematic, organized, and almost legitimized corruption. In Lebanon, initial anti-corruption efforts floundered whether they came from elected leaders, the media, international pressure, or civil society because the political system in Lebanon, designed to compel political actors to choose between either consensus or deadlock, may have prevented the resumption of fighting but only at the cost of endemic corruption.Read more...
Recent public opinion data from a number of democratizing countries supposedly reveal a disturbing trend to abandon democratic reforms in favor of a return to authoritarian rule. However, this popular disaffection stems not from a loss of faith in the principles and benefits of democracy, but from frustration at the slow pace of reform. Many citizens, frustrated with their economic situation, believe that a strong, centralized government could provide a quick fix, mistakenly blaming the lack of improvement in economic inequality on reform itself. In many cases, the democratic nature of these regimes did not extend beyond the ballot box, and reforms have either been abandoned or carried out incompletely. Meanwhile, states that have undertaken democratization more fully and transparently are reaping economic rewards. Therefore, instead of giving up on democratic reform and forfeiting their rights in hopes of rapid economic improvement, citizens should insist on the development of the institutions that underlie functioning democracies and market economies.Read more...
Analysts see Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva establishing a development model that combines the macroeconomic elements of the Washington Consensus with enhanced spending on social services. The new plan, dubbed the “Brasilia Consensus,” would elevate social welfare to the level of structural reforms within a larger economic reform process, providing a new model of development for the region. But notwithstanding some success, the reforms have hewn closely to macroeconomic elements and have not yet included the promised boost to social welfare programs that would have made the Brasilia approach unique. It remains to be seen if the current administration will end up implementing its new vision of economic reform that can serve as a model to other countries in the region.Read more...
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- Middle East & North Africa
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