Archive for October 2012

How Does Inclusive Economic Growth Support Democratic Participation?

On October 16, CIPE organized a workshop on economic inclusion at the Lima Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy. Social and economic inclusion have become priority themes in ensuring that democracy delivers for all. We wanted to explore possible routes to inclusion and the implications for giving voice to excluded populations.

Our first presenter, Selima Ahmad, founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that in Bangladesh entrepreneurship has given women a voice. Women entrepreneurs have gained the ability to make decisions within the family, and men are even joining wives’ businesses. The women’s chamber advocated successfully for women entrepreneurs to get loans without collateral. Members of the chamber who have done well now create jobs and provide help to other micro entrepreneurs.

In Peru, entrepreneurship provides the only route to move up in life for many who lack formal education. Daniel Cordova, president of Instituto Invertir, described the EmprendeAhora program, which educates young Peruvians under 25 on democratic and market concepts. This program engages youth by addressing their personal and professional interests. The key to the success of the program is giving them a concrete, entrepreneurial activity, such as starting a business or a non-government organization.

Osama Mourad from Egypt, CEO of Arab Finance, Continue reading ‘How Does Inclusive Economic Growth Support Democratic Participation?’ »

What Can Be Done to Empower Youth Through Economic Inclusion?

At the Seventh Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Lima, Peru, Youngstars Foundation and Instituto Invertir organized a workshop on October 15 to ask, “What can be done to empower youth through economic inclusion?”

A well-rounded set of recommendations emerged from the workshop:

  • Promote entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship (nonprofit sector).
  • Include youth in planning processes on economic issues at all levels. Reach out to youth to listen and build trust. Help them to articulate their issues and give them platforms.
  • Provide access to information on how to start a business, how to find a job, and what opportunities and resources are available.
  • Provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs, especially through civil society. Give them tools such as leadership, teamwork, and conflict resolution, as well as technical, management, and vocational skills.
  • Connect entrepreneurs with each other and connect different sectors that support entrepreneurs (universities, financial entities, businesses, NGOs, etc.). Share best practices.
  • Improve education policy and address structural challenges so young people will have the right skills for the job market.
  • Do not stop with training, but track the progress of participants in youth programs.
  • Support youth initiatives at the local level.

Continue reading ‘What Can Be Done to Empower Youth Through Economic Inclusion?’ »

African Start-ups Create a Better Business Environment

World Development Report 2013 suggests that countries should focus on creating jobs with greater development payoffs. This makes me wonder whether we should also place more emphasis on those entrepreneurial ideas and businesses that could potentially improve the business environment in which other entrepreneurs operate, thereby generating a reproductive effect on the reduction of unemployment. Some tech start-ups in developing countries may just offer such a great example – displaying high levels of innovation such ventures mitigate the challenges of other entrepreneurs and SME owners face in doing business.

To showcase some of these innovative and promising start-ups in Africa, DEMO Africa is hosting its annual conference in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 24th to 26th of October 2012. Among the top 40 finalists who are going to demonstrate their products and services at the Conference, some have a great potential to improve the ease of doing business in Africa.

For example, Sasa Africa is an e-commerce platform that enables offline crafts persons in developing countries to connect to online consumers around the world using its proprietary mobile technology. The platform could generate cost-savings for both sides and also provide a great way for the craftsmen in the developing countries to reach the global marketplace. MPayer, a mobile and web application, helps businesses manage their transactions and view their operational information such as incomes, expenses and customer information. Mlouma, through web, mobile, and call center services, provides farmers reliable agricultural information in real time; and Dash2do, an online service network platform, connects small service providers to end users.

Continue reading ‘African Start-ups Create a Better Business Environment’ »