July 8, 2016 Print

Atlas Network partners in Africa face unique challenges — one of which is the strong incentive to work on issues outside the traditional scope of free-market think tanks. The demands of family, the “causes of the moment” advanced by bigger international aid organizations, and the real barriers placed in their path by local governments all make it difficult to focus on free-market solutions. We desperately need these free-market advocates in Africa, though, if we want to see a more prosperous Africa in our lifetime.

At the Intermediate Think Tank Training hosted in Ghana on June 11-13, immediately following the inaugural Africa Liberty Forum, cohosted by IMANI Center for Policy & Education, 14 individuals from 13 think tanks throughout Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Egypt, and Nigeria went through the process of project development, digging deep into the unique situations that their organizations face, and focusing on how to impact policy.

“Atlas Network’s Africa Intermediate Think Tank Training has been so useful in providing new and compelling ideas in the ways that Taxpayers’ Alliance Ghana (TPAG) will be properly steered to better serve the interest of Ghanaian Taxpayers, while holding our government accountable to the people,” said Isaac Sarpong of the Ghana-based TPAG.

Atlas Network has hosted Think Tank Start-up Training programs in Africa for the past two years, supporting the many individuals seeking to start a free-market think tank. It is exciting to see that after several of these groups have gained a foothold and gathered experience, they are eager for a higher level of training on how to grow their think tank work.

“The training was very important for African think thanks, especially young think tanks like the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action,” said Chofor Che of Camaroon-based Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action. “Several issues were very useful, especially the importance of having a formal board. Most of our think tanks have informal boards, so sometimes it is difficult to follow up on planned objectives due to lack of direction from the board. Another issue I found useful was fundraising strategies. It was insightful to learn how to meet and engage various types of donors, especially on a long-term basis.”

Participants in this training earned two credits toward graduation from Atlas Leadership Academy.