June 16, 2020 Print

Nkafu Policy Institute, an Atlas Network partner, is making the ideas of economic freedom mainstream in their home country of Cameroon. Nkafu ran a multifaceted campaign to highlight the benefits of a free and open society through a series of policy debates, the production of a four-part documentary series, and a national essay competition. 

Nkafu hosted eight specially-curated public debates throughout Cameroon, garnering over 500 attendees and an even larger online audience. The debates covered the topic of foreign aid vs. economic freedom as a pathway to prosperity for Africa in general and Cameroon in particular. Pre- and post-debate polls showed an overall increase in interest in the economic freedom route. 

The documentary, called Why Small Businesses Die, was covered by Guardian Post, Pan African Vision, and Journal du Cameroon, three of the country’s largest newspapers, and CRTV and Equinox TV, two of the largest television stations. In the series, the viewers are taken on a trip to understand what the main hindrances are to Cameroon’s economic development. From issues such as overtaxation to economic insecurity, the Nkafu team highlights the importance of a friendly business climate, and offers real policy solutions to these problems. The four documentaries received over 20,000 views on the Nkafu website and on YouTube—a significant result for a country with only 25 million people.

Nkafu also hosted a national essay competition, receiving more than 50 entries from around the country. Each contestant was required to discuss the economic freedom vs. foreign aid debate and offer solutions to the economic problems that hurt Cameroon and Africa more generally. Three winners were chosen and were awarded cash prizes to continue their advocacy and research at one of the eight debates. 

Nkafu Policy Institute hopes that their work is beginning to turn the tide towards economic freedom in Cameroon, and the constant shift in position following debates makes them optimistic. 

Nkafu Policy Institute received a JUMP grant from Atlas Network in support of this project.