February 19, 2016 Print

Atlas Network is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Asia Liberty Award, part of the Regional Liberty Awards, an annual program recognizing think tanks that have made important contributions to improving the landscape for enterprise and entrepreneurship in their regions. The winner of the 2016 Asia Liberty Award is Nepal-based Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation, for its Econ-ity project.

Econ-ity is a discussion platform hosted by Samriddhi, with the goal of introducing market-based solutions to Nepal’s economic problems. The project includes both an online forum and a series of discussion events that attracts representatives from both government and civil society, as well as wide media attention.

“What people appreciate about Econ-ity is that it is not about reinforcing one side of the argument on contemporary economic issues but about bringing people with diverse views to one platform and contesting the ideas based on evidence,” said Arpita Nepal, co-founder and director of research and development at Samriddhi. “This is something very important for a young democracy like Nepal, which is in the process of building new political structures and institutions to facilitate growth and prosperity. Our aim through Econ-ity was to build a platform to reinforce the idea of involving the ‘public’ (or the citizenry) in Nepal’s public policy formulation process. We believe that this is an important aspect of preserving and exercising freedom at a practical level.”

Samriddhi has achieved several successes with Econ-ity, and its most celebrated victories include its role in the creation of a more liberal foreign investment environment in Nepal, its success in pressuring the government to remove the minimum investment requirement policy, its role in enabling small entrepreneurs to receive smaller investments and technology transfer from foreign companies, and the establishment of an hydropower trade agreement with India that creates a more optimistic environment for investors in the sector.

“Samriddhi combines a bold vision with a practical and principled approach,” said Matt Warner, Atlas Network’s vice president of programs and institute relations. “It’s exciting to see what a dedicated team of passionate and tireless freedom champions can achieve in a part of the world that deserves some promising reform.”

Atlas Network selects winners for the Regional Liberty Awards from each of the following world regions: Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East & North Africa. Samriddhi was granted a $5,000 prize.