Majdi Hassen, Executive Director of Tunisian think tank Institut arabe des chefs d’entreprises (IACE) talks with CIPE’s Anna Kompanek about the economic reform initiatives his organization is undertaking in Tunisia. IACE is an independent, non-profit think tank based in Tunis. Since Tunisia’s revolution, Hassen has overseen IACE’s growth into a “think-and-do” tank that plays a vital role in convening diverse political and civic actors to discuss urgent economic problems.
Hassen has developed a series of IACE programs designed to bring leadership skills and civic awareness to young entrepreneurs, policymakers, and stakeholders in Tunisia. He has also been instrumental in organizing IACE’s Enterprise Days, Tunisia’s biggest economic forum, which gathers over 1000 national and international policymakers, business leaders, and experts to discuss critical private sector issues.
Kompanek and Hassen discuss a major public-private dialogue effort – the National Business Agenda – that has brought together voices in the business community to provide the government with constructive recommendations for economic reform. They also discuss a hotline that has been set up in Tunisia to help local businesses deal with red tape and bureaucratic hurdles.
Randa Al-Zoghbi, CIPE’s Program Director in Egypt, discussed the release of their new app, Tamweely.
The app is designed to connect financiers to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Egypt seeking start-up funding, as well as to provide business education tools and information about the institutional and legal environment for entrepreneurs and startups. Al-Zoghbi also discusses the economic situation in Egypt and the many challenges facing the business community there, and where she sees the app going in the future.
Two CIPE-supported entrepreneurship club graduates in Uganda discuss how the skills they learned through the club have helped them to be successful. The conversation covers how the guests took what they learned in the club to start their own businesses and tackle the challenges they have faced along the way. Muwanguzi talks about how his work as a youth advocate helps Ugandan youth to develop the skills to be successful in life and business. Magoola describes how he established his real estate marketing agency. They also discuss the high number of informal businesses in Uganda and the role of entrepreneurship training in helping aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to establish sustainable businesses in the formal economy.
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and OEF Research, a program of the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF) co-hosted a presentation and panel discussion on the role of local business communities in repairing fragile states.
Fragile States continue to garner international attention, and the need to overcome this problem cannot be ignored. They put pressure on the global community by creating devastating poverty and restricted access to basic services for citizens. Fragile States also produce terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, and other dark network activity that puts the well-being of the global community in danger at much higher rates than secure states. One key way to address these problems is through the influence and conduct of the business community.
This event began with a presentation on the new report Firm Behavior in Fragile States: The Cases of Somaliland, South Sudan, and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the panelists discussed how the lessons learned from the report can be used in other regions and countries.
Director of the Al Quds Center for Political Studies, Oraib Al Rantawi, talks about how he moved from being a journalist to the head of the Al Quds Think-Tank. Al Rantawi was a reporter and journalist from 1978-1993, covering a wide array of topics for pan-Arab newspapers, including the civil war in Lebanon and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Al Rantawi and guest host Anna Kompanek further discuss Al Quds partnership with CIPE, working for the past decade to engage political parties in Jordan with the economic reform process. They discuss the progress that has been made since the beginning of the partnership, as well as the political climate in Jordan and the opening space for public-private dialogue.
This podcast was recorded in the field, and the sound quality may vary.
Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships at the Alliance for Peacebuilding Stone Conroy discusses the processes and vehicles that organizations can use to resolve conflict. He also discusses the need to engage a wide range of players in these efforts including businesses, non-profits, governments, the media, military, academia, and others. Conroy also talks about the drivers behind conflict, and identifies “a sense of injustice” as one of the most powerful forces for dissatisfaction that can lead to violence.
Conroy describes a project in Nigeria and how the marketplace brought people together, providing an opportunity for peacebuilding. He talks about how business associations can contribute to peace and conflict resolution, using Northern Ireland as an example. He describes the Northern Ireland business alliance, a collection of companies drawn together because of the conflict, as the “unsung heroes” of the Irish peace process. He talks about the convening power of business association and how they can gather a wide range of stakeholders to address a conflict situation.
Finally, he discusses a new, cutting-edge Alliance project bringing together peacebuilders, spiritual leaders and neuroscientists to look at how the brain can be “rewired” to be more peaceful. Pilot projects are planned for Minneapolis, Chicago, and in Bogota, Colombia. He also discusses previous work of this type with gang members, rewiring the way they respond to an attack or situation to reduce the likelihood of continued violence in communities.
Recording of an event CIPE recently co-hosted with the International Real Property Foundation on the topic The Role of Property Rights and Property Markets in Sustainable Urbanization and Economic Growth. Listen to experts discuss how property rights and the institutions that support them –ranging from appropriate regulation to transparent financial markets– are key to sustainable development. Robust private property markets promote social stability, strengthen democratic institutions, and promote economic growth.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for equal rights, in particular by the poor and the vulnerable, to ownership and control over land and other forms of property. The SDGs also call for inclusive and sustainable urbanization, an imperative echoed at the recent United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III). Important progress has been made. Yet, billions of people around the world today still remain without access to secure property rights and the means to build sustainable settlements and economies.
The event speakers explored these global reform priorities, and how to accelerate and measure progress. This event took place on the sidelines of the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty.
Maya Eristavi, CIPE's representative with USAID’s Governing for Growth (G4G) Project, talks about the role of women in Georgian society and how women in business have been taking on a larger role in society, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union. She also talks about the young entrepreneurs and businesswomen who have benefitted from the comprehensive free-trade agreement Georgia has with Europe.
Maya also reflects in growing up in Tiblisi, studying abroad in America in the late 90s, and how this shaped her attitude towards business and put her on the path to where she is today.
National Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, Nikiru Joy Okpala, talks about how she went from being a young lawyer interested in women’s issues to working in the field of business association management. She discusses the importance of economic empowerment for women and the barriers that make it difficult for women in Nigeria to succeed in business. One of those barriers is what she calls the “two-job function” where women have to juggle demands at work with demands at home, such as housekeeping and childcare.
Okpala also discusses the role of women in Nigerian society, the urban/rural split in attitudes, and how education is helping expand what is possible for women in her country. Finally she talks about how her parents raised her to be an independent and successful woman, including the confidence she gained through debating current affairs with her banker father and his friends.
Ambassador of the Republic of Albania, Floreta Faber, discusses her previous role as head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Albania and how she built the institution into one of the strongest associations in the country. She talks about establishing forums for public-private dialogue to present governments with business community perspectives. She also discusses the importance of focusing on collective issues rather than individual company needs. She offers advice to new associations establishing themselves in developing countries, including the importance of representing members equally and fairly, which, she says, is not always easy to do.
Ambassador Faber also discusses how leading a business association prepared her for being an Ambassador. Working for a better business environment, for economic growth, for more government accountability and transparency, fighting corruption, and improving economic ties between Albania and the U.S., are issues she still works on today. Finally, she talks about meeting President Trump, the huge responsibility she feels representing her country, and what she most admires about the United States.
Editor of the Washington Post’s DemocracyPost blog, Christian Caryl, discusses the challenges facing democracy around the world and whether we are at a major inflection point in history. He talks about the current crisis facing western democracy and why its implications are vitally important for Americans.
Caryl, a self-described “troll magnet,” also talks about the difficulty of countering fake news and the Russian information war. He explains the rules that guide the work of journalists in the United States, and how increasing media literacy is important for rebuilding the public’s trust in the media.
Ayesha Bilal, Chief Operating Officer of Pakistani think tank PRIME (Policy Research Institute of the Market Economy), discusses PRIME’s work encouraging citizen involvement in public policymaking in Pakistan. She talks about PRIME’s highly successful Scorecard project to track how well the government has met its economic reform promises. Bilal shares how PRIME included the government as a stakeholder in the project and how the government is now using the Scorecard to track its own progress.
Bilal talks about the importance of tackling issues that have a broad appeal, and tactics for involving many sectors of the population in policy discussions – from homemakers to entrepreneurs to business owners. She stresses the need for openness and transparency in research and advocacy projects, and the importance of encouraging discussion, not imposing solutions. She also discusses PRIME’s current #FairTax campaign.
This week on the Democracy that Delivers podcast, Craig Fagan, policy director of the World Wide Web Foundation and Sonia Jorge, the executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet discusses how over 60 percent of the world is still not connected to the internet and how this digital divide is keeping billions from prospering economically and socially. They talk about how their mission is to raise voices for those who don’t have internet access, enhance internet participation and expand access by reducing cost of digital access.
This week on the Democracy that Delivers podcast this week, AARP Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Martha Boudreau stopped by to discuss the importance of messaging and branding in the world of non-profits. A CIPE board member and top communications strategist in the DC area, Boudreau also talks about her years at FleishmanHillard where she was president of the mid-Atlantic and Latin America and the experiences there that led her to interest in international communications. In particular, she highlights her work at FleishmanHillard in the Middle East and Latin America and explains how that work led to her interest in serving on CIPE’s board, where she heads the communications committee. Boudreau also talks about the mission of AARP, which is to enhance the quality of life for all people as they age, and the important part storytelling plays in furthering that mission.
Founder and President of the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) Selima Ahmad returns to the Democracy that Delivers podcast to talk about helping women move beyond micro-enterprise to larger businesses. She also discusses how when women become economically empowered they become more engaged in policy making and seeking accountability in governance. Ahmad also explains the societal changes in her country that are making it easier for women to succeed in business.
Ahmad was the podcast’s most popular guest of 2016 and she returns to the show after a very successful year for her organization, culminating in winning the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Local Chamber Award for 2016, beating 27 other countries. Ahmad discusses why this award was especially important to her, and the work she is doing taking the best practices she has developed with her Chamber and sharing them with chambers in countries as far and wide as Papua New Guinea, Somalia, and Bhutan. She also talks about how business interests cross borders and sectarian divides, and how the private sector can transcend political constraints to work together to move issues forward.
CIPE Country Coordinator in Papua New Guinea Eli Webb discusses the challenges facing women in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the work being done to empower women from all levels of society. Web talks about efforts being made to bolster women’s rights in the country where she says 98 percent of women have been victims of gender-based violence. She discusses legal reforms and development programs that address the issue. Webb also talks about “good news” stories of positive achievements that are being made.
Creating economic opportunities for women is another key element of development work in the country. During his recent confirmation hearing before Congress, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noted the importance of women’s empowerment programs in Papua New Guinea. Webb discusses the international community’s focus on PNG and the work that CIPE is doing to help women succeed by supporting establishment of a women’s chamber of commerce and a women’s business resource center. Webb tells inspiring stories of women being helped by the Center, including illiterate women who are brought to the Center by their husband’s to access training opportunities.
President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Karen Kerrigan discusses why it is important for the United States to support entrepreneurship around the globe. Kerrigan discusses challenges faced by entrepreneurs the world over and how the private sector can engage government on innovative solutions.
She also discusses her work helping fledgling business associations develop the skills to advocate the policy and regulatory reforms needed for an improved business environment. Kerrigan discusses the importance of taking into account local context and cultural sensitivities when working with partners overseas. She describes how she helped a women’s business organization in Palestine when it was starting out and how that organization has grown to be one of the most powerful business groups in that country.
Kerrigan also discusses the attitude towards entrepreneurship she sees in many millennials and the need to expose youth to the opportunity of entrepreneurship early in their education.
Aurelio Concheso, President of the Advisory Board of Venezuelan think tank Centro de Divulgación del Conocimiento (CEDICE), discusses populism in Latin America and the challenges to democracy in that region. He uses the example of Chile to discuss the importance of a free market for meeting citizen demands. He also discusses the need for a social context for market reforms, and how open markets and a level playing field create vested interest in the rule of law by all citizens.
Concheso also talks about how problems with democracy and globalization have led to dissatisfaction and populism, and explains what he considers to be the antidote to the challenge facing democracy in Latin America today.
This week’s podcast is a recording of an event CIPE recently co-hosted with the National Endowment for Democracy titled "Defending Liberal Democracy in Emerging Markets: The Role of Free Markets and Rule of Law."
Specifically, the event explored whether liberal economic reforms and accountability in economic policy can help bolster the consolidation of democracy and, if so, under what conditions.
Opening remarks were provided by:
Three members of CIPE’s Free Enterprise and Democracy Network engaged in a panel discussion on the topic:
The discussion was moderated by:
Secretary General of the International Real Estate Federation – USA Bill Endsley discusses the importance of property rights for economic growth and prosperity.
Endsley talks about how a lack of property rights, or inadequate access to information on property rights, can undermine markets and impede business development. He highlights trends in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and explains how – even in markets where there is thriving real estate development – poorly functioning property markets can undermine the health and sustainability of the economy. He discusses lessons the rest of the world can learn from the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.
Endsley also talks about the property markets scorecard project that has mapped out the ecosystems of property markets in 30 countries so far. He highlights resources available through the project and discusses reforms that have been identified as a result of the scorecards
European Endowment for Democracy (EED) Executive Director Jerzy Pomianowski discusses how the EED came about and the focus of its work today. He shares his philosophy that democracy can only truly be generated from within society, not imposed from outside, which is the basis for EED’s demand-driven model of support. He also talks about the importance of flexibility when adjusting to a rapidly changing environment and discusses the EED’s rapid response projects that meet urgent demands for support.
Pomainowski also discusses the need for a new political philosophy to communicate the promise of democracy and solidarity, and how his past experience as a student activist in Poland shapes his drive to help those taking risks today to support democracy and freedom in their countries.
Lindsey Marchessault from Open Contracting Partnership discusses opening up public contracting through disclosure and data engagement so that public money is spent honestly, fairly and effectively. Marchessault talks about how this is done and the problems that open contracting is trying to address. She provides interesting examples of projects in countries such as Ukraine and Nigeria, and discusses the different roles played by government, the private sector, and civil society in developing impactful and sustainable change. Marchessault also discusses the kind of support and resources available for those who want to implement open contracting, and gives her advice on the most important first step in any open contracting initiative.
CIPE Board member Claude Fontheim talks about how the rule of law, transparency, and good governance underpin strong, inclusive development. Fontheim explains that investment alone is not enough and that support for public institutions is needed to ensure that the benefits of trade and economic growth reach all segments of society. He discusses the direct link between development around the world and U.S. national security interests. Fontheim also talks about how U.S. companies contribute to the good governance of countries they invest in, and how they partner with NGOs and civil society to support initiatives in sectors such as health, education, and women’s rights.
Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation Dr. Kim Holmes, who recently returned to the CIPE Board of Directors after a 15 year hiatus, discusses how his views on democratic and economic development have evolved through the years. Holmes discusses specifically how his views on the role of economic development in conflict zones has changed and why. He also talks at length about his new book, The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left.
CIPE Regional Director for Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia Marc Schleifer works on democracy projects in vastly different parts of the globe. On today’s episode he discusses the trends that are affecting the health and development of democracy in his areas of focus, including the attitudes and outlooks of the citizens in each region.
Schleifer describes his early interest in social issues and how his fascination with Russia led to eight years living in the country, working in law and international development (and his brief stint as a rock musician). His recollections from this time, including the exciting and chaotic mood in pre-Putin Russia, contrast sharply with his assessment of Russia both today and in the near future. He also talks about the rise in populist sentiment in many parts of the world and challenges us to avoid knee-jerk reactions and look at the political and economic developments behind it.