Reforms of the 1980s and 1990s altered the historical pattern of informal street vending in Lima, Peru, to create superior commercial opportunities for poor vendors. Hernando de Soto’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) identified and promoted the crucial elements of growth that had eluded policymakers and businesspeople for decades: property rights, low barriers to market entry, cost-effective regulation, and a democratic policy process.
In 2003, using a process developed by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), business associations, think tanks, and civil society organizations in eight Russian regions formed local coalitions to advocate for a better business climate. In each region, the local coalition crafted a Regional Business Agenda (RBA) for improved private sector growth. Participants worked in small groups with their regional partners to identify common obstacles and development objectives.
In September 2004, the Ahram Regional Press Institute (ARPI) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) organized a historic two-day forum in Alexandria, Egypt that focused on increasing awareness and knowledge of democratic institutions. It highlighted the importance of improving governance through citizen participation in decision making, a vibrant and independent media, and the reduction of legal and regulatory burdens.
Egypt undertook comprehensive reforms in the 1990s, including large-scale privatization and development of the capital market, as it shifted toward a market economy. Despite these efforts, the financial collapse of a number of major companies revealed the need for widespread adoption of corporate governance principles within the Egyptian business community.
In October 2003, when the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) opened its office in Kabul, Afghanistan, strong and sustainable business associations were in short supply. Establishing an effective, trusted business network was crucial to private sector development. At the time, apart from the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), which was headquartered in Washington, D.C.
In recent decades, the percentage of Venezuela’s workforce employed in the informal sector has been steadily growing, and by 2003 more people were employed in the informal sector than in the formal sector. This phenomenon – informality – can severely undermine a country’s economic and political progress and stability through weak rule of law and ambiguous property rights. Informal entrepreneurs cannot access the benefits associated with formal businesses, such as bank credit and legal recognition of their businesses.
In the early 1980s, Hernando de Soto, a successful businessman and economist, left Europe to visit his native Peru. During his trip, he was struck by the disparity between the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit of the people and their desperate poverty. To find the reason for this gap between motivation and result, he decided to open a small garment factory in Lima. His first step was to hire four university students who would complete the bureaucratic procedures necessary to obtain a business license.
In the decade since the overthrow of the authoritarian Marxist Derg Regime, Ethiopia’s government has implemented an economic reform program designed to stabilize the country’s finances, promote private sector participation in the economy, and attract foreign investment. Yet decades of poverty, civil conflict, highly centralized authority, and unfamiliarity with democratic concepts are not easily overcome. Ethiopia’s transition to democracy depends on strengthening alternative sources of information and broadening political debate.
The Asian financial crisis of 1997 underscored the need for governance reform not only in the business community but also in national development finance institutions (DFIs). DFIs are established by governments to provide long-term financing and technical assistance to sectors of the economy not served by other providers of capital. Unlike regular commercial banks, development banks provide training and management expertise in addition to financial assistance. They can therefore play a central role in advancing corporate governance reforms.
The Philippines has struggled in the last few decades to establish a democracy capable of addressing the needs of all levels of society. Reforms must strengthen the institutions of government and address inadequacies in business and social sectors in order to build a more representative public governance system. In the words of Dr.
- Access to Information
- Business Association Development
- Combating Corruption
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- Corporate Governance
- Democratic Governance
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean
- South Asia