In a webinar on July 11, Elias M. Dewah, former Executive Director of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry, and Manpower (BOCCIM), and other panelists shared prominent lessons from their experience with public-private dialogue initiatives in Africa and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Here are some of the highlights, addressed to private sector participants in advocacy.
- Be consistent and persistent in advocacy and dialogue to overcome government inertia.
- Remain independent from government but work with officials in an advocacy capacity.
- Be proactive and constructive. Don’t just criticize but offer alternative policy solutions.
- Come to the table with well-researched evidence. Link up with independent think tanks as needed.
- Be representative and inclusive of various sectors, not just a few elite businesses.
- Speak with one voice at all times.
- Move from issues involving transactions to systemic change.
- Make use of existing legal frameworks that provide for transparency and consultation.
- Find the most effective point of engagement in the legislative process – this could be in the drafting stage.
- Evaluate the impact. Look beyond dialogue processes at what is actually achieved.
Panelists shared specific achievements from dialogue, to name a couple:
- In Nigeria, following a campaign by the Enugu Coalition of Business and Professional Associations, roadblocks were reduced from 65 to 15 on a key route while increased police patrols have reduced kidnapping and robbery. Further, the Enugu state government has agreed to set up an inter-ministerial committee to streamline tax collection in the state.
- In Moldova, in response to a campaign by a National Business Agenda Network, the Ministry of Economy has asked the network to sign an MOU to assess government reform initiatives.
A warm thank you to our speaker, Elias Dewah, and panelists: CIPE Africa Senior Program Officer Lars Benson, Nigeria Country Director Omowumi Gbadamosi, and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Program Officer Natalia Otel Belan.
UPDATE: Listen to the audio of this webinar below. You can also download the associated PowerPoint presentation here.
Kim Bettcher is Senior Knowledge Manager at CIPE.