2010 MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA PARTNERS AND PROJECTS
Advancing Democratic Reforms by Enhancing Online Outreach
Advancing Democratic Reforms by Improving Access to Information
Building the Case for Corporate Governance
Fostering Cultures of Good Governance in Bahrain, Tunisia, and Yemen
Improving Access to Information to Advance Reforms
Increasing Institutional Capacity and Access to Information
Pakistan-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce Stakeholder Workshop
Empowering Grassroots Private Sector Associations
Strengthening the Voice of Business
Cercle d’Action et de Réflexion autour de l’Entreprise
Promoting Good Governance Practices in Algerian Businesses
Combating Corruption and Promoting Transparency
Democratic Governance and Responsible Citizenship
Empowering Egyptian Citizens to Engage in Public Policy and Fight Corruption
Egyptian Junior Business Association
Upgrading the National Business Agenda
Federation of Economic Development Associations
Empowering Small Business to Participate in Policy Reform
Building Capacity of Provincial Investment Commissions in Iraq
Building Constituencies for Reform
Al Quds Center for Political Studies
Engagement of Political Parties in Economic Reform
Young Entrepreneurs Association
Advocacy for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Policy Reform
Development for People and Nature Association
Expanding Entrepreneurship Education to the National Level
Lebanese Transparency Association
Building Capacity for Corporate Governance Implementation
Building Capacity to Prevent Corruption
Empowering Grassroots Private Sector Organizations
Business Women Forum
Advancing Advocacy Capacity for Palestinian Businesswomen
Building Advocacy Capacity for Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs
Center for Private Sector Development
Establishing Governance Codes and Standards for the Private Sector
Expanding Corporate Governance Culture throughout the Palestinian Private Sector
Israeli-Palestinian Business Forum
Advocacy Capacity for Palestinian Commercial Code Reform
L’Institut Arabe des Chefs d’Entreprises
Reinforcing Good Governance in the Private Sector
Reinforcing Good Governance in Limited Liability Companies
Corporate Governance Association of Turkey
Establishing Governance Guidelines for Business
Expanding Awareness of Corporate Governance
Changing Perceptions on Corruption
Empowering Youth to Combat Corruption
Human Rights Training and Information Center
Media Women Forum
Improving Access to Information and Analysis on Reform
Political Development Forum
Economic Platform Building
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CIPE’s programs in 2010 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region effectively advanced key priorities to support the expansion of democratic governance: launching anti-corruption initiatives in Lebanon, Yemen, and Egypt; advancing corporate governance and corporate citizenship in Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, and Lebanon; strengthening civic and entrepreneurial culture; and expanding access to information through online and print publications. CIPE achieved notable accomplishments including production of an anti-corruption film in Yemen that is already being used as an educational tool in passport and civil registration agencies, establishment of the multi-stakeholder Lebanese Anti-Bribery Network that positions the business community as part of the solution in fighting corruption, and issuance of the Guidelines for Corporate Governance in Yemen and the Code of Corporate Governance in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In Tunisia, the CIPE-supported Center for Corporate Governance used its guidelines of corporate governance to train boards of directors and other stakeholders in governance principles.
AFGHANISTAN | SUPPORTING REFORM EFFORTS ACROSS
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CIPE is working in Afghanistan to build a thriving entrepreneurial culture and encourage a broader debate on democratic and economic policy issues. CIPE works with a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Afghanistan – from high school students to members of parliament – to help build institutions that give citizens a voice in their country’s development. In 2011, CIPE and a coalition of Afghan business associations are partnering to develop a National Business Agenda that will take a grassroots approach in identifying major obstacles to commerce and economic growth as well as proposing specific policy recommendations for addressing those obstacles.
CIPE’s Afghanistan work included these highlights:
Afghanistan Supreme Court Justice Mohammad Omar Babrakzai listens to participants at a corruption roundtable. He noted, “This roundtable is a major achievement; the Supreme Court of Afghanistan supports such initiatives and will stand behind the recommendations made today.”
- Tashabos, CIPE’s high-school entrepreneurship program, expanded to include a 12th grade curriculum in 2010. In total, 33,000 students – more than half of which are girls – at 44 schools in Bamyan, Kabul, Nangahar, and Parwan provinces gained valuable entrepreneurship skills.
- In May 2010, CIPE released a survey of 738 Afghan businesses from six of the country’s largest cities – Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, and Mazar-e-Sharif – which measured business leader opinions. The survey found that security, corruption, and lack of electricity were the top three concerns of the business communities in these six cities.
- In 2010, CIPE conducted more than 10 training sessions for members and senior legislative aides of the Afghan National Assembly and an additional 24 training programs on market economics and democratic governance for 258 members of Provincial Councils across Afghanistan. Topics included good democratic governance, market economics, combating corruption, budgeting and financial management, taxation, trade and globalization, and the informal economy.
- In August 2010, CIPE’s anti-corruption conference in Kabul drew over 100 individuals from 21 provinces. This conference was the culmination of a series of roundtables. Participants issued a communique outlining a set of 16 policy recommendations and calling on the government to enact immediately a set of comprehensive anti-corruption laws.
EGYPT | COMBATING CORRUPTION AND
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Corruption remained at the forefront of public debate in 2010, with the support of CIPE’s ongoing anti-corruption program sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development. In January 2010, CIPE released survey findings of the Egyptian public’s experience with and opinion of corruption, based on a nationally-representative sample of the Egyptian population. In July 2010, CIPE released four papers produced under the guidance of CIPE’s anti-corruption advisory council composed of Egyptian business leaders. These papers cover the implications of the government decentralization process on corruption, the importance of access to information, reform of the bureaucracy, and reform of the government procurement process, and include concrete recommendations for policy changes.
Anti-corruption work in Egypt resulted in the following accomplishments:
- The survey results and policy papers broke the barrier of publically discussing corruption in Egypt, or even acknowledging its existence.
- The four policy papers were the first direct, public effort to address corruption in Egypt by an independent group of prominent Egyptian business associations, civil society organizations, multinational corporations, political parties, academic institutions, and media outlets.
- The corruption survey was highlighted in several issues of Al Masry Al Youm, Egypt’s largest independent newspaper. Additionally, a widely-read article by Saad Hagrass, managing editor of the influential business daily Al Alam Al Youm, analyzed the survey results and created a wider space for public discussion about corruption issues that continued in the media for nearly a month after the original article went to press.
In July 2010, CIPE and Al Masry Al Youm organized a four-day forum titled, “ Promoting Transparency and Combating Corruption in Egypt.” The forum gathered 50 participants representing leaders of business associations, writers, academics, and think tanks.
IRAQ | ADVOCACY IMPACT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
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In post-conflict environments, strong economies are crucial in supporting nascent democracies. As Iraq struggles to emerge from conflict and rebuild its economic system, effective reform-centered dialogue involving the private sector is critically important. Local policymakers and private sector representatives in Iraq are undertaking unprecedented economic reform advocacy efforts in Anbar, Basrah, and Najaf provinces and the Kurdish region. Business leaders from diverse industries and policymakers are using the CIPE-sponsored regional and Provincial Business Agendas (PBAs) as a foundation for dialogue on major challenges and solutions to economic growth.
The challenges and solutions that are part of the PBAs and the regional Kurdistan Business Agenda (KBA) were presented to local policymakers in early 2010. The agendas introduce a fundamental shift in perception and practice in Iraq, from a centralized approach where the national government decides and makes changes to local regulations to one where private sector representatives engage with the local government to create a more market-oriented legislative environment. These types of partnerships between the public and private sector have paved the way for developing the business environment in Iraq’s provinces at the local level.
Advocacy efforts in Iraq led to the following changes in 2010:
- In Anbar Province, policymakers have pledged to change laws the private sector indentifies that hinder economic growth. At a CIPE sponsored event in October 2010, a Provincial Council representative implored the private sector to “tell us what needs to be changed [in the law] and we will change it. That is our job.” This attitude is new to the province and directly countered old sentiments that local policymakers cannot change laws without national approval.
- In Basrah province, the Basrah Provincial Investment Commission has revisited their internal structure in response to private sector grievances that their response time to potential investors is not adequate.
- In the Kurdish Region, electricity coverage rates have increased from 40 to 53 percent because of reductions in rates and increases in investment led by the private sector.
- As a result of KBA recommendations, the Kurdistan government financed the region’s Agricultural Bank at $100 million in 2009. Farmers can access capital and land productivity has increased. Wheat production in 2010 increased from 180 kilos per dunum (a unit of land), to 240 kilos per dunum.
MENA REGIONAL | IMPROVING CORPORATE GOVERNANCE ACROSS THE REGION
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In 2010, CIPE has emphasized corporate governance as a focal point for the business community in the Middle East and North Africa region, not only to advance competitiveness by demonstrating accountability, but also to help build democratic institutions by participating in policy debate and reform. CIPE and its local partners in Bahrain, Yemen, and Tunisia have helped bring about concrete change to enhance the values of transparency, accountability, fairness, and responsibility – the core pillars of corporate governance and democratic participation.
“Advocating for government reform is one thing, accomplishing reform on the ground in each unique circumstance is another. Stimulating and encouraging the relevant public and private parties and organizations is the requisite bottoms up approach requiring study, care, and patience.”
— Ira Millstein,
Senior Associate Dean for Corporate Governance
Yale School of Management
Corporate governance efforts in 2010 resulted in the following:
- In Yemen, CIPE and the Yemeni Businessmen Club created a task force with representatives from the business community, government, the media, and academia to strengthen corporate governance in the country – an unprecedented form of public-private cooperation in Yemen. With support from CIPE and utilizing expertise from other CIPE partners in the region, the task force created the first-ever Guidelines for Corporate Governance that was launched in March 2010. The Guidelines are already being used as a model for several family-owned companies in their efforts to address family governance and succession issues and business owners have requested assistance from task force members to help them draft company-specific guidelines.
- In Bahrain, CIPE played a key role in building momentum for finalizing and launching the Code of Corporate Governance in the Kingdom of Bahrain with the National Steering Committee on Corporate Governance in March 2010. The code is motivating companies to improve their governance practices in order to comply with new requirements that will enhance disclosure and democracy.
- In Tunisia, CIPE and the Institut Arabe des Chefs d’Entreprises advanced democratic values by utilizing the CIPE-supported Tunisian Center for Corporate Governance to train boards of directors and other stakeholders in governance principles. The training workshops are based on the Guidelines for Corporate Governance Best Practices, developed by CIPE and IACE in 2008, which encourages a business environment based on greater transparency and accountability.