Atlas Network's Center for African Prosperity focuses on the role that free markets, property rights, and the rule of law have in creating the conditions for people to thrive.

FEATURED STORIES

ESSAY CONTEST SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF LIBERTY FOR EVERYONE

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...

READ MORE

STUDENT LEADERS PROTEST BAN ON ASSOCIATIONS IN BENIN UNIVERSITIES

In an attempt last fall to silence student dissent, the government of Benin, a country of about 11 million people in West Africa, prohibited student associations from operating on the campuses of its four national universities, reported Atlas Network partner LibreAfrique.org. The decision was condemned by Amnesty International,...

READ MORE

ILAPI-GHANA SPREADS PRACTICAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP TO SIERRA LEONE AND BEYOND

The people of Sierra Leone lack fundamental liberty. According to the “Index of Economic Freedom,” an annual guide published by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, the country ranks 142nd out of 178 measured countries. Sierra Leone’s 10 year civil war in 1990s had devastating effects on the country’s economy, an...

READ MORE

ABOUT THE CENTER

Center for African Prosperity, which was launched by Atlas Network in May 2019, is a new opportunity to focus on the role that free markets, property rights, and the rule of law have in creating the conditions for people to thrive in the region. With 20 active organizational partners, Atlas Network is well-positioned to engage local civil society groups to help solve complex issues with home-grown solutions that address local needs.

Under the direction of internationally-recognized business entrepreneur Magatte Wade, the Center for African Prosperity will support Atlas Network’s regional partner organizations in their efforts to promote economic freedom and strong institutions and to build the capacity for reforms that lead to broad-based prosperity across Africa.

About Magatte Wade

Magatte Wade Magatte Wade is a serial entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and visionary business leader with a passion for creating positive change in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of SkinIsSkin.com, “the lipbalm with a mission,” and is dedicated to reducing rational discrimination while creating jobs and prosperity in her home country of Senegal. Throughout her career, she has created successful high-end retail brands inspired by diverse African traditions. She is a Forbes “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa”, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos, a TED Global Africa Fellow, and "Leading Woman in Wellness” award winner by the Global Wellness Summit. Wade also serves on the Advisory Board of the Whole Planet Foundation, of Whole Foods Market. She has written for The Guardian, HuffingtonPost.com, and Barron’s, and is a frequent speaker at business conferences and on college campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, MIT, and the Wharton School of Business.

Wade believes that the “cheetah generation,” a new cohort of dynamic African entrepreneurs and professionals identified by Ghanian economist George Ayittey, will create local pathways for change that will shape the future of African prosperity. “Perhaps the most unique challenge we face is that the world has come to perceive that Africans themselves are not capable of creating prosperity—and require charity in order to survive,” she said. “This simply isn’t true. The combination of negative perceptions of Africans, combined with widespread ignorance regarding the need for economic freedom is a toxic combination.”

Magatte speaking at TED

With Wade’s knowledge and experience guiding the Center for African Prosperity, Atlas Network will help build inclusive prosperity, fight negative stereotypes, and share a message of freedom with an international audience.

Watch Magatte Wade in “How We Thrive: Made in Mekhé,” A FEE documentary about doing business in her home country of Senegal.

Watch Magatte Wade on “The Power of Entrepreneurship” at FEECon

Watch Magatte Wade’s TED Talk, “Why it’s too hard to start a business in Africa—and how to change it.”

Made in Mekhé

Why are some countries poor and others are rich?

It's a question that Magatte Wade, a Senegalese entrepreneur and the Director of Atlas Network’s Center for African Prosperity, could not ignore as she as she looked around at the beauty and natural resources of her home country. Senegal has so much to offer, yet people live in poverty. Why does this happen—and what could she do to change this?

“How We Thrive: Made in Mekhé” explores Magatte's journey through the challenges of starting a business in a country that ranks near the bottom of the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World report. Creating jobs is nearly impossible in a country that throws up roadblocks to progress. And even worse, well-meaning aid projects—like shoe giveaways for children—completely decimate local businesses that can’t compete when people can get the same products for free.

“Made in Mekhé” is an absorbing look into both the culture of this beautiful country and the life-changing opportunities that are helping people lift themselves out of poverty through economic opportunity.

Dr. George B. N. Ayittey’s Applied Economics for Africa

Teaching economics is fundamental to a rich and nuanced understanding of the benefits of free enterprise, but few textbooks exist that are relevant for African students. In his new textbook Applied Economics for Africa, renowned Ghanaian economist George B. N. Ayittey uses examples familiar to African readers to explain complex economic systems and the opportunities presented by free markets.

As Ayittey points out, “An African proverb says, ‘He who does not know where he came from does not know where he is going.’ Africa is lost and wandering because many of its leaders do not know where they came from. They have been copying alien systems and institutions instead of building upon their own.”

Atlas Network is proud to offer Applied Economics for Africa, written by Ayittey to illustrate how African ingenuity, indigenous knowledge, and local institutions can propel the continent into inclusive prosperity.

Download the full text of Applied Economics for Africa here.

Watch Dr. Ayittey on “How Socialism Destroyed Africa”

Watch Dr. Ayittey’s TED Talk.

Recent publications by Dr. Ayittey

Ambassador Dr. Martin Kimani: African Lives Matter

Ambassador Dr. Martin Kimani, who is Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Center and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary serving as Kenya’s Permanent Representative and Head of Mission to the United Nations at Nairobi, spoke of his involvement in forging consensus after Kenya’s tumultuous 2017 elections and told the audience that “African lives matter.” Kimani took a long view of history, pointing out that the continent is still in its infancy in matters of international trade, but that removing barriers for the individual to succeed will transform markets and create prosperity across the continent.

FOR PARTNERS

GRANTS

From general support to special project funding. Atlas Network offers its partners in Latin American a range of strategic opportunities on a competitive basis.

LEARN MORE

AWARDS

In recognition of excellence and special achievements, Atlas Network identifies and rewards the very best in its Latin America network through a variety of awards and prizes.

LEARN MORE

TRAININGS

Atlas Network provides digital and in-person training to take the leadership in the Latin American freedom movement to the next level.

LEARN MORE

FAQS

Does the Center adhere to a particular ideology?

The Center for African Prosperity collaborates with partners that understand how individual rights, limited government under the rule of law, and free markets can create prosperity and improve the prospects for peace. The Center calls for an end to cronyism, corruption, and political privileges of all kinds, and looks forward to working with all people of goodwill who share this vision. In this way, the Center adheres to a set of principles, but not to a narrowly-defined ideology or political orientation.

Does the Center get involved in politics?

No. The Center for African Prosperity does not engage in partisan politics. Our focus is on building a long-term consensus around the principles that foster peace and prosperity, with the sincere hope that such a future will see ‘less at stake’ in individual elections, because all parties will be respectful of fundamental freedoms.

How can I inquire about having the Center’s Director, Magatte Wade, speak for my organization?

The Center welcomes speaking invitations for our director, Magatte Wade. Please contact Melissa Mann with the details of your invitation.

How can I learn the Center’s position on particular policy issues?

The Center for African Prosperity serves a network of independent think tanks and civil society organizations that take their own positions on specific policy topics in specific countries. We are not a think tank ourselves, so we are not in the business of giving hot takes on the news of the day. On occasion, our team can assist media inquiries by providing references to experts associated with our partner organizations, but these individuals do not speak for the Center itself.

How do I get involved with the Center?

If you would like to learn more about the Center and meet those involved in its work, consider attending our upcoming Africa Liberty Forum or Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner, where many of our partners come together to learn from one another, participate in networking and training opportunities, and celebrate the accomplishments of their global peers.

If you are working for a think tank or civil society group that would like to take part in training programs and grant competitions, the first step is to go through Atlas Network’s partner approval process.

If you are a philanthropist wanting to learn about the Center’s work, please contact Vice President of Development Chad Goote. We would be happy to provide details that will help you make an informed decision about how gifts to the Center for African Prosperity may fulfill your philanthropic goals.

If you are a member of the academy or the media, we welcome your inquiries about how you might contribute to a better understanding of the work of the Center and the achievements of our independent partners.

How is the Center funded?

The Center is not endowed and does not accept funding from any government. It relies entirely on the generosity of individuals and institutional donors that share its desire to create greater freedom and opportunity for the people who inhabit Africa’s diverse political, cultural, and social landscape.

What are the Center’s top priorities at present?

Since the Center believes the best policy solutions come from the bottom-up, our strategy is to listen to our partners rather than direct their plans and strategies. The principal focus of our work is supporting (via training, grants, and networking opportunities) our partners’ locally-grown solutions to poverty and other local challenges.

We work with our partner network to help identify areas of collaboration around big themes that are common in the think tank world, and that have relevance to the needs that other local partners have identified. Current themes include:

• Improving understanding of the benefits of trade and the dangers of protectionism, so that political leaders will less inclined to indulge in demagoguery that could undermine beneficial trading relationships.

• Rooting out corruption and political privileges that distort the economic playing field. Such work will help us clarify that enlightened political actors will be “pro-market” (since market competition produces innovation and lowers prices for consumers), not “pro-business” (a euphemism for helping existing businesses at the expense of competitors and consumers). 

• Using tools like the Doing Business report of the World Bank and the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World report to identify “low-hanging-fruit” reforms that can measurably increase economic freedom.

What does the Center for African Prosperity do?

The mission of the Center is to help achieve a lasting peace and inclusive prosperity throughout Africa, providing justice and opportunity to all its citizens. Our strategy is to assist civil society organizations in the region to implement bottom-up projects that increase freedom.

This means we focus our attention on helping our partners by providing (1) training; (2) competitive grant opportunities; and (3) networking opportunities. Through our annual Africa Liberty Forum and other events and public campaigns, we also bring public attention to the projects of our partners and the importance of their work.

What is the Center’s relationship to other organizations focused broadly on Africa?

We recognize that policy issues are not the same in Cape Town as they are in Cairo, and the strategies that our partners seek to implement are responsive to local needs. The Center aims to complement—and find ways to collaborate with—other efforts to advance sound policy ideas. We frequently collaborate with Students for Liberty Africa, and we welcome inquiries about how we might work cooperatively with other organizations pursuing similar ends.