Democracy in Action: Stories from the Field

Around the world, tens of millions of men and women strive every day to improve their lives through private enterprise. Over time, their individual accomplishments can add up to wholescale economic and political transformation. But in order for these businesspeople to create change, they need more than ideas and energy. They need a level playing field, fair and inclusive markets, and clear rules for engagement. This is where the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) begins, partnering with the private sector to help build the infrastructure of market economies and encourage democratic reform. From Nigeria to Pakistan, Mexico to the Middle East, and Thailand to Ukraine, CIPE’s work delivers real, positive impact. The 2012 highlights presented here provide a window into the breadth of work that CIPE and its partners undertake, helping to strengthen and support democracy and market institutions around the world. As CIPE begins its 30th year, we continue to work with our partners to enhance the role of entrepreneurs in building democratic societies, improve democratic governance, and build a stable economic environment for all.

Inauguration Day in Venezuela

By John A. Zemko, CIPE Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

The presidential inauguration in Venezuela has come and gone and President Chavez was a no-show, still presumably recuperating from a post-operative respiratory infection after his fourth surgery to “remove malignant cells” from his pelvic area. In reality, little is officially known about his actual medical condition and whether he will ever be able to return and reclaim the presidency. He has not been seen in public since December 11. Read the rest of this article.

Fighting - Literally - for Small Business in Ukraine

By Frank Brown, CIPE Program Officer, Eurasia

Veteran Ukrainian legislator Ksenia Lyapina is optimistic about the makeup of the newly elected parliament, the Verhovna Rada. Not only is she being joined in the 450-member body by six new deputies with an explicitly pro-entrepreneur agenda, but her party has some muscular new allies on key votes: both figuratively and literally. In the first two days of the new Rada’s proceedings in mid-December, pushing matches, brawls, and fistfights broke out on the floor. Read the rest of this article.

When Pixar’s “Up” Becomes Real: China’s Land-Use Rights Saga

By Michelle Chen, CIPE Program Assistant, Asia

What could be the most adequate real-life example of the fictional, fantastical Pixar movie “Up?” — China’s land–use rights saga! In “Up,” Mr. Frederickson’s entire life and all his cherished memories are threatened when real estate developers want to usurp his home and his land. Through constant harassment, the developers finally force Mr. Frederickson to give up everything he owns – or so they think. To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Frederickson uses thousands of helium balloons to carry his home to the mystical place of his childhood dream: Paradise Falls. In reality, the battle between Mr. Frederickson and the real estate developers reflects the heartaches of many Chinese rural villagers, and unfortunately, the Chinese villagers cannot fly their homes to Paradise Falls. Read the rest of this article.

Business Associations in Egypt: Effective Participation in the Democratic Transition

For Egypt’s transition to democracy to succeed, democracy must deliver for all of its citizens. The January 25 revolution was sparked largely by young, educated Egyptians frustrated at the lack of economic opportunity and unwilling to accept the dead end they saw in front of them. To avoid further unrest and instability, the economy will need to get back on track, and begin to deliver in tangible ways for Egyptians as soon as possible. Despite calls that are even now emerging prominently in the debate, the government cannot deliver jobs – the key to job creation is Egypt’s private sector, which must play a prominent role working with political leadership in building Egypt’s new institutions from the very start. Read the rest of this article.

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