August 7, 2018 Print

The Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), based in Ghana, just held its second African Journalists for Economic Opportunity Training (AJEOT). In addition to the 20 students from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Switzerland, experts from around the world were there to offer training and insights on the unique struggles facing journalists on the continent.

Among the experts present were Dr. Tom G. Palmer from Atlas Network and Franklin Cudjoe—from Atlas Network partner organization IMANI Center For Policy and Education (Ghana). Dr. Palmer’s presentation touched on identifying tools for economic journalism. “Journalism is not merely to record or report bare facts, but to generate insight into and understanding of complex arrangements or ‘complex facts’ that require more than merely physical descriptions,” said Palmer.

This insight is what ILAPI hopes to foster through its training.

According to its founder and CEO — Peter Bismark Kwofie — journalists receive most of their information from the government “but have little or no knowledge of liberty and its economic principles as an essential precondition for a prosperous world.”

“We also see politics cannot avoid the laws of economics and good intentions cannot bring good results from bad methods,” said Bismark Kwofie. “The laws of economics determine good and bad methods and that knowledge of basic economics is essential for a responsible reportage for a free society.”

By providing journalists with necessary background information, Kwofie’s hope is that they will then be better prepared to tackle two major challenges:

  1. “Build an immunity to political lies, and have the muscle to demand answers and help educate and disseminate the ideas for policy decisions.”
  2. “Advocate for freedom in doing business especially in countries that scores low marks on the Economic Freedom Index.”

If achieved, this will help drive the continent in a freer and more prosperous direction.

Participants in ILAPI’s 2018 African Journalists for Economic Opportunity Training.

Two of their prior trainees have already help to move toward this goal, by shedding a light on government mismanagement and abuse. Danso Abiam attended a prior AJEOT training and as a result of the skills he learned, was able to highlight government waste in the form of an abandoned building project that was built using state funds. Additionally, another trainee Stephen Bernard Donkar, went on to follow the story of a victim who had been assaulted by a police officer. Donkar was able to use this story in order to bring attention to the struggles of those who have suffered police abuse. Both these journalists were recognized during the closing award night that also featured the winners from AJEOT’s Online News Portal business pitch competition — won by Rashid Obodai (Ghana).

Through successes like these, ILAPI’s trainees have already started to challenge the narrative of government dependence and hope to move it toward a government built on the understanding and respect of personal liberties.