The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation

Improving Lives
Expanding Opportunities

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Strengthening Local Economic Governance

The Asia Foundation's Economic Development programs support Asian initiatives that enhance economic governance aimed at accelerating and sustaining broad-based economic growth, with special attention to the intersection between the delivery of public services and poverty. The Foundation focuses on reform of the regulatory and structural constraints to investment, enterprise, and participation. An engagement typically begins with research and analysis followed by capacity building with various civil society groups to enhance their role and effectiveness in policy reform. Such groups include farmers' associations, Chambers of Commerce, associations of women entrepreneurs, guilds and crafts associations, nongovernmental organizations, and community groups. The Foundation then provides technical assistance to enact reform measures, using tools such as Regulatory Impact Assessments, public-private dialogue, and the sharing of best practices in policy reform measures.

Improving Local Economic Governance in Sri Lanka

The Asia Foundation supports partners in 16 strategic urban locations throughout Sri Lanka to improve local economic governance; to increase private sector participation in decisions that affect the business environment; and to give greater voice to marginalized groups in local governance. The Foundation has been using consultative tools like public-private dialogues (PPDs) to bring together local business and government. More recently, the program has made use of innovative information and communication technologies. An online PPD issue-tracker helps track the resolution of issues identified through various District Enterprise Forums and working groups. Another tool called the Business Environment Barometer helps officials visualize the opinions of micro, small and medium sized enterprises, which is critical to sustainable economic development. These tools exist under the National Enterprise Development Authority of Sri Lanka and provide a new way to visualize local economic governance data, as well as a new avenue for government actors and business owners to collaborate on important issues at the subnational level. Read more about this program here.

Local Economic Governance Book

Innovations in Strengthening Local Economic Governance in Asia summarizes The Asia Foundation's experience designing and implementing programs aimed at strengthening economic governance in Asia. Read an excerpt from this book by V. Bruce J. Tolentino, the Foundation's former Chief Economist.

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