Business environment reform (BER) is increasingly seen as a key component of development strategies in fragile settings, including conflict affected, post-conflict, post-disaster and emergency situations. Enterprises operating in fragile contexts often face business interruptions, physical damage, disruptions to infrastructure services, difficulties with supplies and shipments, and revenue decline. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as they tend to have fewer financial and human resources when faced with emergencies and hazards. When a community faces disasters, violence, conflict or emergencies, the ability of local enterprises to survive is an important factor in the recovery process. Businesses play an important socio-economic role: they provide jobs and incomes for affected populations, produce goods and services, and pay taxes. Bilateral and multilateral agencies that support private-sector development increasingly seek to ensure that these programmes have a component focusing on improvement and reform of the business environment. This is because an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises contributes not only to economic growth, but also to more peaceful and inclusive societies. However, introducing business environment reforms in fragile contexts is a complex and often long process. Fragile countries have differing characteristics, including varying levels of fragility, inequalities, incomes and economic performance. They are also more susceptible to rapid change, which implies that BER must be designed in an adaptable and flexible way. Stakeholders' engagement must be thorough and robust throughout the process, to ensure that no stakeholders are isolated, thus causing further tensions. Against this background, this online course aims to provide participants with an understanding of existing tools and approaches to introducing business environment reforms in fragile settings.
The course is addressed to a varied audience, with a common interest in fragility, resilience, business environment reform, and support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. More specifically, the course is designed for ILO and UN staff, working at HQ and in the field, concerned with fragile contexts, including conflict-affected, post-conflict, post-disaster and emergency situations; ILO constituents (staff of employers' and workers' organizations, and government representatives) who are based in fragile contexts and are interested in learning how to improve the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in their country; development and humanitarian professionals, including international experts and consultants working in the fields of fragility, resilience, and business environment reform, who are looking to understand the role and approach of the ILO to these topics; donor agencies supporting MSME and private-sector development in fragile contexts.
The specific objectives of the course are the following:
This 4-week online course includes three thematic modules plus one “hands on” module:
Each module will include a webinar with international experts, plus a Welcome Webinar.
This course is an opportunity for participants to: