On March 9, 2021, CIPE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to strengthen regional collaboration in West Africa. The agreement establishes a framework for greater programmatic cooperation with a focus on both women’s empowerment and CIPE’s flagship initiative to strengthening regional stability and reduce extremism in the countries of the G5 Sahel.
Amidst the COVID19 pandemic, and resulting economic downturn, the countries of the G5 Sahel geopolitical region are under increasing pressure to address systemic development challenges, while facing attacks by extremist groups. Women in the G5 Sahel countries, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, are particularly impacted by lost livelihoods and internal displacement.
The collaboration between CIPE and UNECA will work toward facilitating wider public participation in policymaking and supporting the development of demand-driven interventions focused on resilience and peace. Against this backdrop, promoting private sector development, socio-economic inclusion, gender equality and democratic values will be key points of focus for the two organizations, with CIPE’s regional initiative to mobilize businesses to counter violent extremism as the primary vector for the collaboration.
CIPE’s MOU with UNECA is the most recent in a series of agreements signed by CIPE and regional organizations working in the countries of the G5 Sahel to strengthen the voice of business in regional security and economic policy. This includes traditional business institutions such as Chambers of Commerce, as well as stakeholders that are uniquely affected by regional insecurity, but seldom have a seat at the policy table such as women and youth. Since September, CIPE has signed three memoranda of understanding with organizations representing the G5 Sahel countries including:
- the Executive Secretariat of the G5 Sahel (September 22, 2020);
- the Coordination of National Youth Councils of the G5 Sahel (October 13, 2020); and
- the G5 Sahel Women’s Platform (November 20, 2020).
Through its partnership with regional organizations, CIPE hopes to better support the inclusion, and participation, of diverse business stakeholders in economic advocacy and dialogue, both nationally and regionally. Mostly recently, in honor of Women’s History Month, CIPE collaborated with the G5 Sahel Women’s Platform, along with UN Women and Alliance Sahel, to host a virtual workshop and panel with Sahelian businesswomen to solicit insights and recommendations on how to support women-owned businesses amidst growing regional insecurity and the impending COVID19 economic recovery. The event is the first in a series of planned dialogues that will lead to the development of the first regional women’s business agenda. The post-event report will be available soon on CIPE’s Sahel Initiative website here.
In the countries of the G5 Sahel, CIPE supports the Sahel Business Coalition, composed of chambers of commerce, business associations and think tanks to inform and facilitate public-private dialogue processes and platforms that reduce the cost of insecurity, remove barriers for local and foreign investment, and mobilize the private sector against violent extremism. A non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Center for International Private Enterprise currently implements 130 programs in 50 countries around the world.
For more information on this initiative, contact the CIPE Communications Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://sahelinitiative.cipe.org/.