This week’s guest on Democracy that Delivers is food diplomacy expert Johanna Mendelson-Forman. She is an adjunct professor at American University and distinguished fellow with the Managing Across Boundaries Initiative at the Stimson Center.
This week’s guest is Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a startup nonprofit that provides campaign advice and public relations support to pro-democracy leaders in Africa.
Smith aims to bring the international spotlight to Gambia, which is recovering from a more than two-decades-long dictatorship. Political and civil rights were nonexistent during the presidency of Yahya Jammeh, a former military officer who ruled the country from 1994 to 2016 . Vanguard Africa partnered with Gambia’s presidential candidates in 2016 to campaign against Jammeh, who lost the election.
Despite this accomplishment, Smith says Vanguard Africa’s work in Gambia is unfinished; a country cannot transition from dictatorship to democracy overnight. The nonprofit is now focused on holding the new government accountable. To aide with the transition, CIPE has partnered with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a national business council for the private sector.
This week’s guest on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast is Karim Shaaban, CIPE’s program director in Jordan. In this podcast, Shaaban discusses the positive effects that CIPE and the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support (LENS) Project have had on economic growth in local communities in Jordan.
LENS was created to support the growth of micro and small enterprises, particularly those led by women. Three associations involved in LENS focus primarily on empowering working women and women entrepreneurs.
LENS and CIPE have also worked to bolster Jordan’s tourism sector. Despite the country’s appeal as a hiking and rock climbing destination for international tourists, the tourism industry has historically lacked structure. CIPE partnered with the Jordan Mountaineering Association, which is composed of tour guides and tourism operators, to help the association plan and organize its first board of directors’ election.
In addition, Shaaban credits CIPE with providing local businesses with training and technical assistance. He says that with CIPE’s support, seven business associations were able to increase their revenue and diversify their revenue streams.
This week’s guest on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast is Vaqar Ahmed, Ph.D. Ahmed is deputy executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
In this podcast, Ahmed discusses CIPE’s partnership with SDPI, the growth of Pakistan’s economy, and the country’s need for a thriving private sector. After a decade of low gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Pakistan’s economy has begun to improve. The private sector will play a key role in the country’s economic turnaround, and a free, transparent market is necessary for the private sector to flourish.
SDPI’s main aim is to provide a sustainable development community in Pakistan by addressing such issues as climate change, food security and tax reform. With CIPE’s support, SDPI has developed economic programs that have received support from members of the Pakistani parliament.
This week on CIPE's Democracy that Delivers podcast, Manzoor Ahmad, Ph.D., discusses economic and infrastructure growth in Pakistan. Ahmad is president of the PRIME Institute and a senior fellow with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva.
CIPE and PRIME collaborated to create the Government Policy Scorecard, which is intended to hold the Pakistani government accountable for economic promises made to its citizens. Ahmad says the project has been a success because it has opened the door for dialogue between the Pakistani government and PRIME Institute.
Ahmad also discusses the positive effects of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which took effect in February 2017 Ahmad credits the TFA with facilitating exports and expediting trade in developing countries, such as Pakistan.
Finally, in regards to infrastructure, Ahmad says Pakistan has benefited since the 2016 implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is intended to strengthen Pakistan's economy by modernizing its infrastructure.
This week on CIPE's Democracy that Delivers podcast, Masooma Sibtain, president of the South Punjab Women's Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SPWCCI) in Pakistan, discusses the current state of women entrepreneurs in South Asia.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Sibtain says women in her country have always participated in the work force. However, most of their jobs have been in the informal sector as artisans. The regional women's chambers are transforming Pakistani women from informal artisans to entrepreneurs by helping them to market and sell their products.
Sibtain says because of CIPE, the other women's chambers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh learn from and support one another. Sibtain credits her chamber, its members and CIPE for teaching her the importance of support systems and advocacy.
This week on CIPE's Democracy that Delivers podcast, CIPE's Country Director in Nigeria, Omowumi Gbadamosi, discusses economic and democratic progress in Nigeria. Gbadamosi began her career with CIPE in 1988, and the most dramatic change she has seen in the last thirty years is the transformation in Nigeria from a military dictatorship to a democracy.
Gbadamosi believes the Nigerian government is now listening to the needs of the private sector, but the government needs to learn to respond. She is optimistic about Nigeria's future as CIPE's partners have continued to push for reforms.
Her advice to Nigeria's private sector is to be resilient. Gbadamosi says working with the public sector can be dispiriting; it is essential for those in the private sector to stay persistent because advocacy is a continual process.
Thida Khus is the founder and executive director of Silaka, a non-profit organization in Cambodia.
Khus and her family migrated to the United States in 1979 to flee the Khmer Rouge regime. From 1993 to1996, she organized 80 Cambodian-Americans to move to Cambodia to counteract the lack of human resources.
Khus states that Cambodia's government continues to suffer from corruption, lack of good governance and an unreliable justice system. She believes citizen education and government transparency are needed to see a change in the national government.
Despite the problems in the national government, Khus discusses the positive changes in local government. For the first time in local elections, an opposition party won a significant amount of votes. She credits a large population of young people and social media for the election results. She believes Cambodia's younger generation is positioned to bring about change because younger people there do not fear war like the older generation and social media has made it easier to share information.
Christina Bain, director of the Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at Babson College in Massachusetts, discusses the role of business and entrepreneurship in combatting human trafficking.
As a college professor, Bain teaches her students about the types of human trafficking and how to prevent trafficking in their respective fields.
In addition, Bain raises awareness of human trafficking among high school students in the Boston region. Babson's Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery launched the Human Freedom Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in 2016. The program visits schools where students are more vulnerable to trafficking and aims to train and inspire the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs to fight human trafficking. The program has proven successful. For example, two high school students have created a program to educate preteen girls about the dangers of the Internet.
Henry LaGue sits down with Mark Oxley, a CIPE consultant in Zimbabwe.
Oxley explains how he became involved with the country's National Chamber of Commerce and CIPE, and he discusses the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. Specifically, the country has a large number of highly educated individuals who are either unemployed or working in the informal sector. Despite economic difficulties, there are opportunities for investing in the country's infrastructure and tourism.
LaGue provides an update on the accomplishments of the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). CIPE supports WABAZ in building partnerships and networks among women entrepreneurs. CIPE also works with WABAZ to raise awareness on funding opportunities available to women entrepreneurs.
Mauro DaCunha, the chief executive officer of Brazil's AMEC (Capital Market Investors Association), discusses the importance of democratization of capital in Brazil.
DaCunha credits CIPE's partnership with Brazil with increasing public awareness of capital markets and its correlation with economic growth. The development of capital markets in Brazil would positively influence the country's economy by creating job growth, opportunities for investment and a culture of equity investment.
DaCunha also talks about how corruption and distrust of businesses are hindering the development of capital markets, while providing insight on what needs to take place to counteract corruption.
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.