Programs Around the World: Highlights
Around the world, tens of millions of men and women have turned to private enterprise to improve their lives. To succeed, these businesspeople need more than ideas and energy. They need a level playing field, fair and inclusive markets, and clear rules for engagement. This is why the work being done by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is so important. For 30 years, CIPE has partnered with representatives of the private sector to foster the market and political institutions they need to flourish. From Ethiopia to Papua New Guinea, Moldova to Peru, and Yemen to South Asia, CIPE’s programs have real, meaningful impact. The highlights presented here underscore the vital importance of the work that CIPE and its partners undertake, building the infrastructure needed to promote market economies and encourage democratic reform.
Africa: Improving the environment for Ethiopian businesses
By encouraging public-private dialogue and providing support to strengthen coalitions, CIPE has succeeded in fostering a series of regulatory and policy reforms in Ethiopia. This year, 46 partner organizations, including chambers of commerce, women’s business organizations, youth groups, and sector-specific associations, created the first regular dialogue on business issues with the local governments and conducted advocacy campaigns that led to a reform of tax laws affecting small business and the removal of a ban on specific agricultural products. They also made access to land for women entrepreneurs a priority.
CIPE’s efforts are national in scale. CIPE’s partners come from all of Ethiopia’s seven regions, operating in areas that include more than 90 percent of its total population. To support their ongoing advocacy, CIPE has partnered with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and sectoral associations to build a Chamber Academy, which will provide sustainable association management training for association and non-profit executives.
Asia: Creating a private-sector voice for women in Papua New Guinea
Women in Papua New Guinea have much to contribute to discussions on policymaking, but they face enormous obstacles in advocating for change. Papua New Guinea ranks among the world’s worst performers in almost every global indicator of gender equality, manifested in shocking statistics about gender-based violence, social inequality, political exclusion, and economic marginalization. Given this situation, it is not surprising that there is no women’s organization capable of advocating for gender equality in business and policymaking. To address this acute need, CIPE helped establish the country’s first-ever women’s business association – the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNGWCCI). A goal of this business association is to secure for women in Papua New Guinea a seat at the “policymaking table” that cannot be removed with changes in government. With ongoing CIPE support, PNGWCCI could emerge as a voice in public policy that policymakers can neither eliminate nor ignore.
Europe & Eurasia: Strengthening a network for reform in Moldova
For more than six years, CIPE has supported the efforts of Moldova’s National Business Agenda (NBA) network – a coalition of 30 business associations and chambers of commerce – to establish itself as a leading advocate for economic reform and public-private dialogue. The network’s influence was felt this year, after it published a report detailing progress in adopting and implementing key NBA policy proposals, holding the government accountable for the pace and quality of reforms. The Prime Minister’s office in Moldova’s newly formed government responded by reaching out to the NBA network and inviting its members to discuss the new administration’s reform agenda. The government also began action on 12 of the network’s 13 proposals. Currently a third have been implemented or are in the process of implementation, including a simplification of export procedures, greater transparency in the customs regime, and the ability to submit tax reports electronically. The recent report from the World Bank to the Moldovan government on private sector development draws heavily on the NBA network’s recommendations. The bank notes that the NBA reflects “the views of a broad range of private sector stakeholders.”
Latin America & the Caribbean: Instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in Peru
In 2013 the Peruvian Ministry of Production and the Ministry of Education launched an entrepreneurship program for high school students called Crea y Emprende. It is based on EmprendeAhora, the CIPE-supported youth leadership and entrepreneurship program organized by Instituto Invertir. EmprendeAhora provides potential young entrepreneurs from less developed areas with the information they need to launch business initiatives and serve as democratic leaders within their communities. Crea y Emprende, is similarly focused on enhancing regional economic inclusion. The new program was designed and is managed by 2010 EmprendeAhora alumna Antonella Romero, demonstrating the original program’s multiplier effect. Since June 2013, Crea y Emprende has been offered in 103 schools in 10 regions, benefitting over 5,000 students and resulting in nearly 1,000 new business plans.
Middle East & North Africa: Improving the environment for small business in Egypt
To improve the environment for small business and expand economic opportunity in Egypt, CIPE partner the Federation of Economic Development Associations (FEDA) took the unique approach to discovering obstacles to business growth by holding roundtables and conducting surveys of failed small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It then established an SME Reform Agenda and mobilized FEDA members and other stakeholders to advocate for related policy recommendations. At a time of revolution and transition in Egypt, when very few policy decisions are being made at any level, the FEDA-led dialogue process produced two key changes: as a result of these discussions, the Industrial Development Authority made land and building licenses more accessible for investors and now permits factories to continue operations during the license renewal process. Such reforms will have a significant effect on SMEs and present opportunities for new growth in Egypt’s struggling economy. Moreover, Minister of Planning Ashraf Al Araby has endorsed the recommendations in the SME Reform Agenda as a starting point for dialogue at the national economic conference planned for 2014.
South Asia: Building links among South Asian women’s business associations
CIPE has supported women’s chambers of commerce and businesses associations in Bangladesh and Pakistan to help establish the economic and political conditions that women entrepreneurs need to flourish. CIPE built on this foundation in 2013 by establishing a greater South Asia network. It organized a series of sessions in Dhaka, Kathmandu, and Lahore, that brought together women from a dozen organizations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Pakistan. The representatives shared ideas and best practices on topics needed to sustain successful organizations, including human resources, accounting guidelines, business incubator management, membership surveys, entrepreneurship development, and other topics. The sessions had other impacts as well. Thanks to contact with the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber, the Peshawar Women’s Chamber was able to launch a small CIPE-funded advocacy program to improve support structures for women entrepreneurs in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan. CIPE also provided advice and technical assistance to help launch a new apex organization of women’s business organizations in Sri Lanka.
Global: Strengthening the CIPE partner network
This year, Global Programs focused on strengthening CIPE’s international partner network, even as it continued to create and share resources on CIPE’s core themes, both online and in print. CIPE founded the Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN) in 2012 to provide a mechanism for private sector leaders and advocates of political and economic freedom to exchange ideas and support reforms. In 2013, FEDN established its founding principles, held a series of webinars, and sent representatives to the Community of Democracies meeting in Mongolia. CIPE also brought several of its partners from Africa and MENA to the World Chambers Congress held in Qatar. The goal: to facilitate knowledge sharing on the role of chambers and associations in building democratic, prosperous societies.
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean