Programs in the Middle East & North Africa
CIPE’s strategy for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is driven by the imperative that democracies must deliver for all of their citizens. In the context of current political transitions, the need to deliver jobs and prosperity as broadly-based and fairly as possible has never been greater, and success will depend on establishing vibrant market economies that are governed by functioning democratic institutions. CIPE’s programs in the MENA region are well-positioned to build upon new political opportunities and dynamism by supporting efforts that expand political and economic opportunity and empower stakeholders, particularly women and youth, to press for democratic and market-oriented reform.
CIPE’s regional MENA Information project is an initiative dedicated to closing the information gap in the region by providing much-needed resources on the links between democratic and economic reform. By generating and disseminating high-quality, original content in French and Arabic, CIPE provides reformers with the intellectual and practical tools they need to understand and apply market-oriented democratic systems and practices.
Program Results and Impact:
- Syria – The senior management of the Damascus Securities Exchange used CIPE and CIPE partner Arabic-language resources to develop their own corporate governance code.
- Bahrain – Faculty at the University of Bahrain and the former chairman of the Bahrain Transparency Society use CIPE resources to find accurate Arabic terminology for economic terms for use in Arabic-language academic work and media articles.
- Saudi Arabia – The Capital Market Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requested information and resources to support the development of an Institute of Directors.
- Lebanon – At the request of the Lebanese President’s legal advisor, CIPE and partner the Lebanese Transparency Association provided materials on anti-corruption and corporate governance, which will be made available to the Presidency’s Directorate General, an office that includes the Budgetary, Financial, Economic and Social Affairs division.
Egypt: Encouraging Private Sector Participation
Since 1993, CIPE has been engaged in Egypt to encourage the private sector’s active participation in the democratic process by strengthening voluntary business associations; to enhance transparency and accountability by building the institutions of corporate governance; and to enable civic participation and entrepreneurship. CIPE has partnered with and strengthened the capacity of the country’s first truly non-governmental, voluntary business associations: the Federation of Economic Development Associations (FEDA) and the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB). FEDA is a grassroots, country-wide umbrella organization of more than 100 local business associations and civic organizations, which together encompass a membership of 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Egypt. With members ranging from senior executives in established Egyptian and multinational companies to owners of family businesses, the EJB represents more than 550 member firms, which in turn employ more than 170,000 individuals in Egypt.
Iraq: Strengthening Public-Private Dialogue
With CIPE support, local policymakers and private sector representatives in Iraq are undertaking unprecedented economic reform advocacy efforts in Anbar, Basrah, and Najaf provinces and the Kurdish region. Business leaders from diverse industries and policymakers are using the CIPE-sponsored regional and Provincial Business Agendas (PBAs) as a foundation for dialogue on major challenges to economic growth.
Program Results and Impact:
- In Basrah, the Provincial Investment Commission has revisited its internal structure in response to private sector demands. In addition, at least four laws are being reconsidered because of Basrah PBA recommendations.
- CIPE supported the development of the Kurdistan Business Agenda (KBA) in 2007, an unprecedented initiative in Iraq that unified the voice of the Kurdish private sector. In 2009, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) agreed to provide $100 million to the housing sector, increasing the number of housing units built for low income families. The KRG also issued $100 million to the region’s Agricultural Bank, increasing farmers’ access to credit, and leading to increased agricultural productivity – wheat productivity, for example, increased from 180 kilos/dunum of land to 240 kilos/dunum.
- Decision-makers responded to another KBA recommendation by reducing the cost of electricity. As a result, electricity coverage rates have increased from 40 to 53 percent in the Kurdish region, bolstered also by the resulting increased, private sector-led investment.
Yemen: Supporting a Grassroots Approach to Reform
CIPE has worked with local partners in Yemen since 2006 to expand democratic participation and economic opportunity by focusing on anti-corruption initiatives, corporate governance, economic journalism, political party development, and youth and entrepreneurship education. CIPE’s programs support a grassroots approach and specifically aim to reach governorates beyond the capital of Sana’a.
Program Results and Impact:
- CIPE’s groundbreaking documentary film, Destructive Beast, exposes the economic costs of corruption in Yemen and has attracted significant attention since its launch in 2010. The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption is investigating a case highlighted in the film, and the Ministry of Interior and Police Academy are using the film to raise awareness among more than 1,200 employees and police cadets. The film is now being utilized across the country to spark dialogue and launch youth-led initiatives to address corruption on the governorate level.
- Since 2008, CIPE and partner the Political Development Forum (PDF) have engaged the General People’s Congress (GPC) party and the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) in a comprehensive economic platform-building program. The parties now embrace the idea that economic policies developed through a consultative process must be an integral part of their platforms. With a significant political transition underway, CIPE and PDF will work with the parties to articulate a clear economic vision, reflecting the needs and priorities of the private sector and constituents.
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Southeast Europe
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean