Cameroon: Atlas Network Executive VP Dr Palmer Visits Foretia Foundation

The Nkafu Policy Institute, a department under the Foretia Foundation has been nominated for the Templeton Freedom Award, named after philanthropist Sir John Templeton

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Dr Palmer sharing the stage with Foretia Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fri Asanga during a working session

Dr Tom G. Palmer, Executive Vice President for international programmes at Atlas Network where he holds the George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty rounded off a visit on Wednesday, August 3, with officials of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, who works to catalyse Africa’s economic transformation through social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health and progressive policies that create economic opportunities for all.

The visit which is his first in the West African nation saw him introduced to the various departments that make up Foretia Foundation by the chief Executive Officer Fri Asanga, who appreciated the excellent collaboration that has been ongoing between the two non-governmental organizations. The objective of Dr Palmer’s visit was in line with the nomination of the Nkafu Policy Institute (a department under the Foretia Foundation) for the Templeton Freedom Award.

Since 2004, the Templeton Award has identified and recognized the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise and the public policies that encouraged prosperity, innovation, and human fulfilment via free competition. Since 2013, the Templeton Freedom Award has been supported by the Templeton Religion Trust. The Templeton Freedom Award is the most prestigious award within Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Awards Prize programme, which includes the Regional Liberty Awards.

Speaking to the staff of the Foretia Foundation, Dr Tom Palmer said his mission in Cameroon was to interview people and write a report about the works of the Nkafu Policy Institute which will go to a committee that will then pick the six finalists. The six finalists will then go to another group of judges who will then pick the winner. The winner of the award will be awarded one hundred thousand dollars worth of investment. Five additional finalists will receive $20, 000 thousand prizes and travel support to attend the event.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fri Asanga, the Foundation submitted the WERC project because all the work that they do has a gender focus. The WERC Project developed by the Nkafu Policy Institute aims to remove barriers to women’s participation in productive activities by conducting advocacy campaigns with a coalition of government actors parliamentarians, business stakeholders, academics and the media to promote women’s economic rights in Cameroon.

In a working session, Dr Tom Palmer was given a pictorial overview of the various departments at the Foretia Foundation and some of the achievements recorded throughout the departments with some of the projects that have been funded by Atlas Network. Access to healthcare according to Dr Odette Kibu is very difficult and Cameroon cannot achieve full health coverage in the present system. “Lack of knowledge, insurance policy and the lack of trust for the health system is an issue that has made it difficult to achieve full health coverage,” Dr Odette Kibu said.

Dr Tom Palmer had a chance to visit a wide array of personalities such as the High Commissioner of Canada to Cameroon Richard Bale, Bar Nseng Abeng (CIVITAS Cameroon), and Victor Tibue, Ministry of External Relations to ascertain the work done by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation and the Nkafu Policy Institute.

On this visit, Dr Palmer said: “There is a huge respect for the work done by the Nkafu Policy Institute does from the diplomatic core, African countries, and also barristers who appreciate the work; to listen to people and find out the problems that women face and try to find solutions to these problems and help to address the issues to bring out a society of greater equity and greater prosperity for everybody in Cameroon.”

“We are very good friends and we appreciate the professionalism that Nkafu Policy has shown and they are of great service not just for Cameroon but all across Africa and the whole of the world,” Dr Palmer said when asked about the relationship between Foretia Foundation and the Atlas Network

The work of the Foretia Foundation is greatly valued, says Dr Palmer

“I am very happy with my visit here in Cameroon. It is one thing to read reports, and get emails but then to meet the people producing those reports and to see the passion that they have, the care that they demonstrate to do this job professionally and get the facts right and objectively really lifts my heart. I am happy to now have made this face-to-face communication and not distantly through the electronic media.”

Dr Denis Foretia, co-chair of Foretia Foundation a dinner reception highlighted the importance of Atlas Network. He said: “The Atlas Network was our first partner and is our strongest partner. It is an honour for us to welcome Dr Palmer to Cameroon for their support in various levels of social development.”

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