Strengthening the Capacity of Local Reformers to Build Market-Oriented Democracies

A strong civil society is the cornerstone for building democracies that deliver to all their citizens and are capable of implementing both political and economic reforms. Private sector organizations, such as independent chambers of commerce and business associations, are key elements to vibrant civil societies as they provide a variety of services, such as training programs and networking opportunities, to small and medium-sized firms to be successful businesses, thus ensuring an inclusive economy. A broad-based, competitive private sector in turn fosters an environment conducive to vibrant political discourse and competition, and places checks on the power of government. In this age of democratic backsliding, providing tools and resources to build the capacity of these private sector organizations to be reformers in building market-oriented democracies is more crucial than ever.

CIPE works to build the capacity of local private sector organizations to become active and strong participants in the democratic dialogue process in their respective countries. By creating and disseminating resources aimed at strengthening business associations and other private sector organizations, these organizations receive the tools and support to reach the level to confidently participate in the public policy debate. To that end, CIPE developed Business Associations for the 21st Century, a business association management guidebook that helps associations develop effective governance, programs, and advocacy efforts in order create more favorable business climate in their countries. CIPE also published Cost-Benefit: A Practical Guide for Civil Society Organizations. These accessible resources provide chambers and associations with best practices and practical tools to help executives run their organizations more effectively, and to become an authoritative voice of the private sector on policy issues.

Through online channels such as the Virtual Business Association CIPE provides a platform for associations and chambers professional to learn best practices in various aspects of membership-based organization operations, such as advocacy, financial management, strategic planning, and conducting cost-benefit analyses of government proposed reforms. By developing and disseminating these resources, CIPE is helping to strengthen the capacity of private sector organizations to become key actors in the democratic dialogue process.