Reforms of the 1980s and 1990s altered the historical pattern of informal street vending in Lima, Peru, to create superior commercial opportunities for poor vendors. Hernando de Soto’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) identified and promoted the crucial elements of growth that had eluded policymakers and businesspeople for decades: property rights, low barriers to market entry, cost-effective regulation, and a democratic policy process.
The political changes of 1989 triggered the development of the private sector in Romania and the creation of support organizations to represent the interests of the business community. Romanian women proved ambitious and willing to take risks, making their way into an arena previously reserved for men by founding successful businesses and ascending to top management positions.
Malawi, one of the world’s least developed countries, has held democratic elections since 1994. After three decades of rule by a president-for-life, the country is beginning to emerge from political and economic underdevelopment and an acute lack of civil society. Women’s groups in particular are beginning to play an important role in the development of civil society and the private sector. One of the most successful organizations has been the National Association of Business Women of Malawi (NABW).
In the 1980s, the Congress of the Dominican Republic had little influence on public policy decisions, which were dominated by the executive branch. The country needed serious economic policy change in order to overcome debilitating problems like unemployment, inflation, foreign debt, and misuse of public funds. Yet legislators were at the mercy of the government bureaucracy when it came to estimating the economic impact of legislation. They had few resources with which to analyze legislation, lacking both personal and committee research staff.
In 2003, using a process developed by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), business associations, think tanks, and civil society organizations in eight Russian regions formed local coalitions to advocate for a better business climate. In each region, the local coalition crafted a Regional Business Agenda (RBA) for improved private sector growth. Participants worked in small groups with their regional partners to identify common obstacles and development objectives.
In September 2004, the Ahram Regional Press Institute (ARPI) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) organized a historic two-day forum in Alexandria, Egypt that focused on increasing awareness and knowledge of democratic institutions. It highlighted the importance of improving governance through citizen participation in decision making, a vibrant and independent media, and the reduction of legal and regulatory burdens.
Egypt undertook comprehensive reforms in the 1990s, including large-scale privatization and development of the capital market, as it shifted toward a market economy. Despite these efforts, the financial collapse of a number of major companies revealed the need for widespread adoption of corporate governance principles within the Egyptian business community.
In recent decades, the percentage of Venezuela’s workforce employed in the informal sector has been steadily growing, and by 2003 more people were employed in the informal sector than in the formal sector. This phenomenon – informality – can severely undermine a country’s economic and political progress and stability through weak rule of law and ambiguous property rights. Informal entrepreneurs cannot access the benefits associated with formal businesses, such as bank credit and legal recognition of their businesses.
In October 2003, when the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) opened its office in Kabul, Afghanistan, strong and sustainable business associations were in short supply. Establishing an effective, trusted business network was crucial to private sector development. At the time, apart from the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), which was headquartered in Washington, D.C.
In the early 1980s, Hernando de Soto, a successful businessman and economist, left Europe to visit his native Peru. During his trip, he was struck by the disparity between the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit of the people and their desperate poverty. To find the reason for this gap between motivation and result, he decided to open a small garment factory in Lima. His first step was to hire four university students who would complete the bureaucratic procedures necessary to obtain a business license.
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