New Network Aims to Give Private Sector a Voice in Democracy

Caroline Scullin,, 202-721-9200

Free Enterprise and Democracy Network Will Advance Dialogue on Freedom and Prosperity

Washington, DC – The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) welcomes the creation of the Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN), a group of leaders from civil society and business organizations who intend to give the private sector a greater voice in movements for democratic reform around the globe.

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings, which were sparked in part by economic grievances, the link between a functioning free market and democracy that delivers for all citizens has increasingly come into focus. The FEDN will help democracy activists and private-sector leaders make the case for democratic, prosperous societies and to participate in a mutual exchange of ideas and support across borders.

“Democracy and economic freedom today more than ever have to be seen as mutually complementary,” said steering committee member Marcela Prieto Botero. “The role of the private sector is critical in order to preserve and guarantee an environment where the rule of law is the name of the game.”

"The FEDN is a welcome initiative that will help to consolidate the link between free markets and democracy and serve as a beacon for those countries that are now emerging from the shadows of autocratic regimes," said steering committee member Aurelio Concheso.

The network will be headed by a steering committee consisting of prominent businesspeople and reform activists:

Selima Ahmad, President & Founder, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh
Mieczyslaw Bak, President & CEO, Institute for Private Enterprise and Democracy, Poland
Boris Begovic, President, Center for Liberal Democratic Studies, Serbia
Aurelio Concheso, Director, Aspen Consulting CA, Venezuela
Angela Garcia, Executive Director, Hills Governance Center, Asian Institute of Management, Philippines
Badri el Meouchi, Executive Director, Lebanese Transparency Association, Lebanon
Osama Mourad, Chairman & CEO, Arab Finance, Egypt
Marcela Prieto Botero, Executive Director, Political Science Institute, Colombia

The steering committee today issued guiding principles for the new network, highlighting the essential contributions of economic freedom and the private sector toward democratic development and sustainable growth worldwide.

FEDN now seeks to connect civil society and private sector representatives and democracy activists to promote dialogue at global and grassroots levels. Beginning with the October 2012 Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Lima, Peru, network leaders will reach out internationally to engage pro-democracy reformers on the essential links between free enterprise and democracy. CIPE will serve as secretariat for the network and engage with its private sector partners in more than 50 countries around the world.



The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. CIPE is one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy. Since 1983, CIPE has worked with business leaders, policymakers, and journalists to build the civic institutions vital to a democratic society. CIPE’s key program areas include anti-corruption, advocacy, business associations, corporate governance, democratic governance, access to information, the informal sector and property rights, and women and youth.




Center for International Private Enterprise
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