Uneven economic and political freedom across sub-Saharan Africa speaks to the region’s diversity. Many countries are experiencing an economic upswing, but slow democratic development threatens greater and sustained growth and improved quality of life for Africa’s citizens.In other countries, existing democratic institutions are threatened by economic uncertainty.

CIPE has worked with the private sector (especially micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises) in Africa over the last 30 years through business associations, think tanks, women’s organizations, and youth-centered programs. These partners work with CIPE to strengthen democracy by engaging governments on transparency, the business-enabling environment, accountability, the rule of law, and initiatives to combat corruption.

Through dialogue, collective action, and collaboration with government and civil society, the private sector is helping to build the institutions that will allow democracy to flourish.

Program Results & Impact

CIPE’s work with local partners throughout Africa is having a strong impact:

  • In Ethiopia, CIPE’s support of local business coalitions led to the first collective, coordinated approach to dialogue with government on service delivery to address obstacles to business and economic growth.
  • In Zimbabwe, nearly 23,000 women in business are now represented through a national coalition called the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). WABAZ meets with government bodies and elected leaders to advocate a better business environment for women.
  • In Nigeria, CIPE support of business coalitions has led to a better business-enabling environment. In Plateau State, the coalition successfully advocated greater security. Businesses are now able to stay open two hours later. In Nasarawa, partners convinced the government to allocate land in 31 development areas to grow a more marketable crop. The Benue State coalition’s round-table on credit access led to the state government re-activating the Small Scale Industries Credit Scheme, which provides access to loans for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The Enugu coalition successfully advocated the elimination of illegitimate fees for business permits.
  • Also in Nigeria, CIPE partner the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s study and subsequent advocacy campaign on corruption in two regulatory agencies resulted in procedure changes in those bodies, which significantly reduced incidences of corruption.
  • In Senegal, CIPE partner the Union Nationale des Commercants et Industriels du Senegal (UNACOIS) successfully advocated the passage of a revised tax code that included a series of provisions to better integrate small businesses into the formal economy.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, CIPE worked with seven business associations to create a coalition to represent the needs of small and medium businesses and advocate policy and regulatory reforms to the government.
  • In Kenya, CIPE’s work with the private sector has led to the passage of the first law promoting a supportive business enabling environment for SMEs. CIPE-supported business coalitions successfully advocated for local policy and regulatory reforms on security, infrastructure spending, and taxation. CIPE also helped start Kenya’s first budget network to share best practices on increasing public participation in the budget process.

Read more about CIPE's programs in Africa.

Publication by Region

2015 Annual Report

CIPE published its 2015 annual report in an all-digital, interactive format for the first time. Since the establishment of CIPE in 1983, the world has gone through many changes. CIPE has been at the forefront of promoting democratic governance and economic freedom around the globe.

Building a Better Business Environment for Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs through Technology-Enabled Advocacy Efforts

Article at a glance:

  • CIPE partnered with the largest coalition of women’s business and professional associations in Nigeria, the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), to increase the organization’s capacity to integrate useful, low-cost information and communication technologies (ICTs) into its upcoming national advocacy efforts.
  • Taking into consideration Nigeria’s limiting technological environment, including low bandwidth and frequent power outages, CIPE delivered a training workshop focused on how to use mobile and online tools to improve data collection, research, and communications. The tools selected were based on ease of use and accessibility with free and low-cost solutions being preferable.
  • Easiness to navigate and low costs were key reasons for ANWBN members to adopt and integrate some of the tools that were taught from CIPE’s workshop.


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