In November 2022, Future Africa Forum and Legatum Institute hosted the Nairobi chapter of the 2022 “Global Scientific Conference on Human Flourishing”, a conference designed to identify pathways to enable individuals, communities, and countries to fulfill their potential and flourish.
With attendees from Burundi, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the thirty participants sought to define and clarify the role of markets in realising the potential for citizens to flourish in their countries.
The attendees who gathered in Nairobi composed the following declaration and committed to championing human flourishing and markets in Africa.
All people should be able to live fulfilled lives in which they can put their values, talents, and abilities to effective use in pursuit of their goals and wellbeing, with a sense of dignity, purpose and meaning.
Flourishing and prosperity are enabled when people contribute to and benefit from an overall sense of security, economic openness, healthy institutions, rule of law for all, and access to the resources they need.
For too many people in Africa, the chance to flourish remains a distant goal. Existing markets are inaccessible to most and support only basic forms of exchange and trade. Informal working is the norm, with limited access to capital and finance.
This leads to a precarious life that does not give people the opportunity to thrive. But across Africa and within the African population, there is enormous untapped potential. We believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they are accorded dignity and freedom.
Human flourishing and prosperity will require the hidden potential of African societies to be tapped through major structural political and economic change, including opening societies and opening economies. Such transformation to increase productivity and economic diversification needs to be a national level endeavour. Localised initiatives on their own are insufficient.
Sustainable political and economic development emerges from consensus within society to focus on advancing national priorities through respect for institutions, constructive norms, rule of law, and the reliance of open economies and markets to provide opportunities for all.
Markets thrive in conditions of benign politics, good governance, and societal order. Of great importance to economic transformation and human flourishing is a fair, capable, and stable state represented by strong, independent, and effective institutions that are responsive and accountable to the people they exist to serve.
Markets enable people to flourish when the rule of law is universally applied and accessible to all, regardless of status; the democratic process must be open and accessible; and there must be sufficient state capacity and supporting institutions that all citizens are able to access and rely on.
Markets in Africa need to do much more than facilitate trade and exchange; they need to be augmented to support more effective contracts that are compatible with complex productive activities, to strengthen trustworthiness, and reliability in the system, and to provide mechanisms that support innovation as well as risk-taking.
These more effective markets require “backstop” provisions to support participants, without restricting the freedoms of others. These include the ability to negotiate secure property rights, contract enforcement, limited liability, enhancement of reputations, investor protections, accessible and affordable capital, and a variety of insurance products.
To achieve such markets, we call for the introduction of changes that can be accepted by society as a whole and that can help to open the societies and economies, and for approaches to help overcome the hard slog of building good rules and capable institutions, increasing productivity, and fostering economic transformation.
We call for a rejection of the ill-advised replication of ‘international best practice’ drawn from high-income countries. Instead, we call for working within existing societies and institutions, to improve prevailing practices in a sustainable manner through local innovation and experimentation.
We call for a structural transformation that is driven not just by the state, but also by civil society, the private sector, and other local stakeholders.
We call for political and economic leaders to deepen their work with their societies to embrace national consensus, dialogue, and compromise, to focus on the idea of national development for all, with a view to stimulating economic growth and enlarging the “economic pie” for all.
On our part, the undersigned commit to champion flourishing and markets by:
- Promoting and supporting policies, initiatives, and actions to implement the principles of this Declaration
- Putting dignity and flourishing at the centre of our work in policy analysis and implementation.
- Promoting open societies and open economies within our societies.
- Disseminating successful African examples of pathways to support human flourishing and prosperity for all.
The Templeton World Charity Foundation was the host of the 2022 “Global Scientific Conference on Human Flourishing”.
Templeton World Charity Foundation supports a diverse group of researchers to discover new knowledge, develop new tools, and launch new innovations that make a lasting impact on human flourishing.
Future Africa Forum is a platform for thought leadership that consults with organizations that are building a better Africa. We bring together the greatest African thinkers to research, implement and amplify bold ideas and solutions to create tangible and sustainable change across the continent.
Legatum Institute is a London-based think-tank with a bold vision to build a global movement of people committed to creating pathways from poverty to prosperity and the transformation of society.
We seek to do this by raising up leaders of character, restoring an ethical vitality to all sectors of society, and developing practical solutions and data tools that will help build inclusive and peaceful societies with open economies and empowered people.
Participants of the workshop:
Kartik Akileswaran – Co-Founder, Growth Teams
Richard Bailey – Political and Governmental Strategic Communications, Media Relations & Campaign Consultant
Espoir Bindu – Executive Director , Centre for Development and Enterprises in the DRC
Stephen Brien – Director of Policy, The Legatum Institute
Abebe Chekol – Deputy Director, Country Program Advocacy and Communications in Ethiopia
Gerald Chirinda – Founder and CEO, Future Africa Forum
Jan Dehn – Former Global Head of Research, Ashmore Group
Nouh El Harmouzi – Executive Director, Arab Center for Research
Lanre-Peter Elufisan – Co-Founder and Executive Director, Ominira Initiative for Economic Advancement
Evans Exhaud – Founder and Executive Director, Liberty Sparks
Tracey Farquharson – Program Officer, Templeton World Charity Foundation
Denis Foretia – Co-chair and Executive Chairman, Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation and the Nkafu Policy Institute
James Goode – Chief Commercial Officer, Hello Tractor
Alexander Hammond – Director, Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity
Mugabi John Socrates – Director, Action For Liberty and Economic Development (ALED)
Linda Kavuka – Director of African Programs, Students for Liberty International
Phumlani Majozi – Senior Fellow, African Liberty
Aimable Manirakiza – CEO, Centre for Development and Enterprises Great Lakes
Carlos Montes – Lead Advisor on the Pathways to Prosperity Programme, The Legatum Institute
Jonathan Mazumdar – Co-Founder, Growth Teams
Thomas Munthali – Director General, Malawi National Planning Commission
Never Muparutsa – President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe
Tendai Murisa – Executive Director, SIVIO Institute
John Mustapha Kutiyote – Executive Director and Co-Founder, Students’ Organisation for Liberty and Entrepreneurship
Mandipa Ndlovu – Doctoral Researcher, Leiden University
Stephen Oyedemi – Co-founder and Operations Director, Ominira Initiative for Economic Advancement
Tom G. Palmer – Executive Vice President for International Programs, Atlas Network
Mabel Sithole – Program Manager, Building Bridges Initiative at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town
Hafou Touré-Samb – Founder and CEO, HTS Partners