Frédéric Bastiat was a French economist and author during the 1800s. Bastiat spent his life promoting the ideas of individual rights, and limited government. His work continues to impact the liberty movement around the world, most recently through the Bastiat Essay Contest — sponsored by Libre Afrique. Libre Afrique works in the French-speaking Senegal and Benin to promote the ideas of liberty — especially to younger generations.
This essay contest is open to students, and young professionals 35 years old and younger. To apply, candidates had to write an essay no longer than 1,000 words in French in defense of individual rights and small government.
This contest educates young people about the principles of liberty and inspires them to fight for freedom in their countries.
“Bastiat was a great thinker and a fervent defender of the ideas of freedom,” commented Hicham El Moussaoui, editor of LibreAfrique.org. “Through this essay contest, we wanted to make his character, but especially his bright ideas [known] to new generations.”
The contest provides financial and education incentives to attract a wide variety of applicants and has received media coverage on radio, TV, and in print. Pressafrik.com, Warkha TV, Senescoop, Matinlibre.com, and the Benin News are a few of the outlets that have reported on the competition. In its first week, Libre Afrique received fifty applications and more than two hundred phone calls requesting information about the competition.
“This contest has three prizes: The first prize: 400.000 FCFA (the West African Franc); second prize: 250.000 FCFA; and third prize: 100.000 FCFA,” continued El Moussaoui. “The first ten laureates (top 10) will enjoy a one-day training on liberal big ideas and editorial rules for LibreAfrique. At the end of the day, they will receive their prizes in the presence of the media and some distinguished guests.”
Libre Afrique excels in its pursuit to cultivate talented, liberty-oriented writers in throughout Senegal and Benin. This focus on high-quality writing enables Libre Afrique to educate thousands of people about the values of a free society.
“Every year we produce in average 145 op-eds (2/3 original articles and 1/3 translation of English articles), thanks to our network of local contributors in French-speaking Africa,” concluded El Moussaoui. “These op-eds are then re-published by our media partners with 1,500 placements by year on average. As a consultant for media and chronicler, I make an average of 2 appearances in radio or TV a month, and speak at conferences to spread liberal ideas.”
Through the Bastiat Essay Contest, Libre Afrique is proving that the principals of liberty are important for everyone, and it honors one of the greatest advocates of classical liberal thought.