The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. CIPE is one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy and an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Since 1983, CIPE has worked with business leaders, policymakers, and journalists to build the civic institutions vital to a democratic society. CIPE’s key program areas include enterprise ecosystems, business advocacy, democratic governance, and anti-corruption & ethics.
The CIPE Approach
CIPE was founded on the idea that economic freedom and political freedom are intertwined and that progress and development comes through a combination of political and economic liberalization. Democratic consolidation is not achieved through simply holding elections, establishing a free press, and recognizing human rights (although these remain necessary components). Functioning democracies require opportunities, between election cycles, for the public to participate in the policy process. Functioning democracies also require a private sector that is capable and willing to provide an outside voice in the democratic policy process.
CIPE maintains that countries need to build market-oriented and democratic institutions simultaneously, as they are essentially two sides of the same coin. Without a functioning market system, democracies will remain weak. Likewise, without a democratic process, economic reforms are unlikely to succeed.
To support the private sector as a leading advocate for market-oriented reform and democratic governance, CIPE works through a partner network to support grassroots networks in developing countries, capacity building programs, and technical assistance through field offices. CIPE partners with business associations, think tanks, and other private sector organizations in countries where there is both a need for progress and an opportunity for reform. CIPE's work is unique in that it employs transparency, accountability, fairness, and responsibility in institutional reform, laying the foundation for democracy at all levels of society. This institutional approach to development recognizes that changes will not occur overnight and a long-term commitment is needed for reforms to succeed.
Long after a country or a region disappears from the headlines, important work remains to prevent reforms from being overturned at the first sign of difficulty. CIPE supports its partners to develop and become leaders of sustainable development initiatives in their countries. At the same time, CIPE also assists key reformers in places where serious progress has yet to take hold.
CIPE recognizes that successes in one region may provide a model approach for another. CIPE and its partners continue to apply lessons learned across regions, creating new approaches in countries at various stages of democratic reform.
- Foster institutions necessary to establish and sustain market-oriented democracies.
- Increase private sector participation in the democratic process.
- Increase support for and understanding of the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities essential to market-oriented democracies among government officials, businesspeople, media and the public.
- Improve governance through transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors.
- Strengthen freedom of association and private, voluntary business organizations.
- Promote an entrepreneurial culture and understanding of how markets work.
- Expand access to information necessary for sound entrepreneurial and policy decisions.