By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Chief Executive Officer of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, says the attainment of prosperity on the African continent must first come with political freedom after countries on the continent were ranked mostly unfree and mostly unprosperous by the Atlantic Council’s Freedom Index.
The former Chief Operating Officer of the Foretia Foundation was speaking this Thursday, June 9, 2022, during Day One of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2022. “For those of us in the civil society space, the call to action now should be on the attainment of political freedom on the continent which will lead to prosperity in the years to come, she said.
The 2022 Copenhagen Democracy Summit that ran from June 9-10 was attended by world leaders such as former U.S. president Barack Obama; Tsai Ing-Wen, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan); Mircea Geoana, NATO Deputy Secretary-General, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Founder and Chairman of The Alliance of Democracies Foundation and many more.
Speaking during the panel on the Freedom and Prosperity Index – In cooperation with Atlantic Council, the erstwhile Coordinator for FinScope and MAP Cameroon noted: “The rankings are a true reflection of the African continent. The result is not surprising that there are no prosperous countries in Africa. When you look at the indexes, you’ll find that most African countries are ranked mostly under the unfree category.”
“The AU agenda 2063 is looking at a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. But what these indices are telling us is that the focus now should be on freedom because if we agree with the correlation, then by 2063 we will have a very prosperous Africa,” Fri Asanga said.
The Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Center aims to increase the prosperity of the poor and marginalized in developing countries—and to explore the nature of the relationship between freedom and prosperity in both developing and developed nations.
The Center’s flagship project is the production of the Freedom and Prosperity Indexes, which rank 174 countries according to 28 indicators, said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. When combined with historical evidence, the research behind the indexes suggests more freedoms tend to lead to more prosperity.
Fri Asanga added: “The freedom indices show disparity from country to country but what comes out is that African countries rank lowest when it comes to political freedom. If we focus on this, it could kick start and lead to economic and legal freedom.”
The Freedom Index measures economic, political, and legal freedom for nearly every country in the world, using the latest available data when the index was constructed at the end of 2021. The Prosperity Index measures economic wellbeing and human flourishing for the same countries and period. On both the Freedom and Prosperity rankings, Cameroon scores a disappointing result. The country ranks 155 on the Freedom ranking with a score of 32.2 – a mostly unfree statistic. With the prosperity ranking, Cameroon ranks 141 (33.7 scores) and is judged mostly unprosperous.
The international community has a role to play in the attainment of freedom and prosperity according to Fri Asanga but Africa is still leaving in the post-colonial era and it becomes difficult to have a direct intervention.
“The international community needs to discuss with the colonial “masters” of Africa. At the moment we cannot have political freedom when we are reliant on colonial masters,” Fri Asanga CEO of Foretia Foundation added. “To have that, the colonial masters have to be brought on board. The international community needs to come and address that if we have to have a freer Africa.”
About Foretia Foundation
The Foretia Foundation has a mission to catalyze economic transformation by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health and the implementation of progressive policies that together create economic opportunities for all. Through the Nkafu Policy Institute (a think tank), the Foretia Foundation leads the way in providing in-depth, insightful and innovative policy prescriptions on developmental issues within the region.
With values such as integrity, innovation, and diversity, Foretia Foundation has a strong and diverse staff and fellows ranging from peace and security experts, economic and health analysts, governance, graphics and a strong communication team. Foretia Foundation’s reach is beyond Cameroon as the organization has organized sessions on topical issues that concern Cameroon and the African continent as a whole. A session on the security situation in the Sahel as France and her allies pulls out of Mali is programmed later this June.
Through the On Policy Magazine (published monthly by the Nkafu Policy Institute), well-informed, honest and competently articulated articles on a diverse range of policy areas are examined. It offers new perspectives on Africa’s place in the world and expands the voice of the Global South in global policy discourse.