Latin America & the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean is a region divided politically and economically, with one group of countries subscribing to global competitiveness and adherence to democratic principles, and another group characterized by authoritarian tendencies and increasing government control of the economy, media, and civil society. Across both camps, weak institutions generally prevent governments from providing adequate accountability for its use of public resources. High levels of public dissatisfaction serve as a reminder that challenges to democracy are constant and consolidated democracy is not guaranteed even in countries that seek to be competitive and adhere to democratic principles.

In this context, CIPE and its partners are bolstering democracy through programs that improve both the internal functioning and public image of private sector associations, foster the role of think tanks in the economic policy-making process, develop entrepreneurship and leadership skills among youth, and cultivate private sector-led solutions to corruption and citizen insecurity.

Program Results & Impact

  • In Nicaragua, advocacy efforts around the National Businesswomen’s Agenda have resulted in: the Government of Nicaragua acknowledging the need to revise the law for the promotion of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME); the creation of a vice minister position within the Ministry of Economy focused on promoting MSMEs; tax exemptions for certain products needed to make artisan bread, a business segment that is 60 percent women-owned; and the Central American Bank (BAC) organizing financial education workshops for REN members – a service it extended as a result of its involvement in the CIPE-supported National Businesswomen’s Agenda working groups.
  • In Argentina, CIPE teamed up with the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) to increase the level of concrete policy discussion in advance of the 2015 presidential election. Thanks in large part to CIPPEC’s efforts, for the first time in Argentina’s democratic history five of the top six candidates participated in a televised debate before the first round vote. The leading candidate, who chose not to participate, unexpectedly failed to gain enough support to win the election in the first round and quickly committed to participating in the run-off debate that took place on November 15, 2015. Considered a key turning point in this election, the initiative appears to have stimulated the political will to present and debate public policy proposals during election periods.
  • In Peru, CIPE and Instituto Invertir have provided over 1,000 young Peruvians with business and leadership skills that have allowed them to become change agents in their regions. These program alumni have organized hundreds of replica workshops on democracy and entrepreneurship, spreading the values of the EmprendeAhora program to more than 30,000 elementary, high school, and university students throughout the country. Alumni are winning national awards for leadership, entrepreneurship, and civic participation, starting their own formal businesses, and currently serving in public office at the regional or local level.
  • In Mexico, CIPE and CEGI’s comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 owners and managers of small and mediumsized businesses (SMEs) helped identify vulnerabilities and focal points for strengthening a culture of integrity in Mexico, such as:

    • 70 percent believe corruption in the private sector had increased in the last five years
    • A mere 17 percent of respondents were optimistic that corruption in the private sector would decrease in the next five years, despite recent anti-corruption reforms
    • When asked to which government entity businesses should report an act of corruption, the most common response (27 percent) was “It is not reported”; highlighting both a cultural issue and a lack of confidence in government institutions.

    Recommendations include tackling the gaps between laws and implementation, and developing stronger values and ethics among civil society, public and private sector, and the general public.

Read more about CIPE's programs in Latin America & the Caribbean.

CIPE

Center for International Private Enterprise
1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-721-9200    Fax: 202-721-9250
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