Communicating Freedom: Major Successes for the Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity

April 11, 2023

Since the Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity (IATP) launched in May 2021, 10 African nations have ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, bringing the overall number of ratifications to 46 (out of 54 nations). Several countries that are home to partners which IATP works closely with – such as Burundi, the DRC, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigeria, and Tanzania – have all ratified the agreement since the IATP’s launch.

While ratification is an important step toward successful implementation of the agreement, the governments of these states still need to take action to facilitate trade in their nations (reduce tariff rates, remove non-tariff barriers to trade, take action against border corruption, etc.) which is what many IATP partners are now working to make sure happens.

“The IATP is thrilled to support our partners who are doing fantastic work across Sub-Saharan Africa. We firmly believe that the policies our partners are pushing for will improve the lives of millions across Africa,” notes the Director of IATP, Alexander Hammond.

Sponsored Events

With Rising Tide support, the IATP has funded 27 events with 3,700 attendees across six countries since May 2022. These events take many different formats, from student and press conferences to workshops with businesspeople, politicians, and other members of civil society. Let’s take a look at some of the important work taking place across the African continent to liberalize economies across the region!

Liberty Sparks held a Young Scholar’s Colloquium in October 2022 in Tanzania.

In East Africa, Liberty Sparks has held webinars, student events, and reached out to secondary school teachers, non-profit leaders, and university lecturers to promote free trade in their region. They are also prolific at writing and publishing articles in various media outlets. Their Young Scholars Colloquium brought together 30 young scholars and journalists from 7 Sub-Saharan African nations to discuss how to write about trade and the role that greater economic liberalization can play in Sub-Saharan Africa’s development.




Liberty Sparks event at Ardhi University – Sar es Salaam, Tanzania in February 2023.

Additionally, their recent event at Ardhi University supported over 180 students to learn about trade, globalization, and the AfCFTA. Each participant received a copy of Eamonn Butler’s “An Introduction to Trade and Globalization”.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Centre for Development and Enterprises DRC has done a fantastic job attempting to ‘reduce the obstacles to prosperity and opportunity with the principles of a liberal society’. To do so, they have created policy briefs that have been widely distributed and held fantastic events with students, cross-border traders, and journalists. Cross border traders recently gathered in Goma to discuss how trade barriers have stunted growth in this region, and how these barriers can be reformed.


Centre for Development and Enterprises DRC event at the Catholic University – Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo in January 2022.

Another Centre for Development and Enterprises DRC event at the Catholic University in Goma saw about 200 students in attendance. The conference focused on the contents of their (IATP-supported) policy brief on how trade liberalization can benefit the nation, as well as Butler’s book on trade.


Students’ Organization for Liberty and Entrepreneurship (SOLE) Free Market and Economic Development Summit in Yambio, Western Equatorial State in February 2023.

Further north, IATP partners in South Sudan have been working diligently to influence policies in their country. The Students’ Organization for Liberty and Entrepreneurship (SOLE) has been holding events at universities and making numerous radio appearances. Their event ‘Free Market and Economic Development Summit’ received additional funds from Atlas Network, allowing them to more than double the number of businesspeople in attendance, from 300 attendees to more than 600!

SOLE also spreads the message of free markets in South Sudan by appearing twice a month on Anisa FM radio to talk about Butler’s book “An Introduction to Trade and Globalization”. Anisa FM radio is hugely popular in South Sudan with an estimated listenership of over 100,000. Since last September, SOLE has appeared on the program 12 times, often reading passages of Butler’s book. On these radio shows, they have also answered over 250 callers who had questions about the book and were interested in trade and economic freedom.


Centre for Development and Enterprises (CDE) Great Lakes – Border workshop with policymakers on the Burundi-DRC border.

In Burundi, the Centre for Development and Enterprise Great Lakes has also been championing free trade policies in one of the most difficult areas to conduct events in Sub-Saharan Africa. Difficult circumstances don’t stop them from making an impact though. An incredible recent event brought together senior executives of the 15 Ministries of Government of Burundi, senior executives of the Prime Minister, senior executives of the Presidency, and the Rectors of the five main universities, and other nationally elected officials to talk about what it would mean for Burundi to liberalize their trading structure. Participants discussed how to utilize the AfCFTA for their country’s advancement.

As a consequence of this event, the Director of the CDE Great Lakes noted that CDE are now “in the process of influencing the implementation of the AfCFTA national strategy in Burundi…(and) implementing texts which will be an important step in the elimination of the policies of protectionism.”

IATP YouTube Channel

In addition to the work being done on the ground, IATP creates videos, both for partners to use in their conferences and educational programs, and for the general public to learn more about these ideas. Since launching their channel last September, they have published more than 30 videos and amassed over 8,300 views – with the majority of viewers coming from the African continent.

The ‘African Trade Unpacked’ series has videos explaining free trade, the benefits of the AfCFTA, and the challenges that are posing a threat to its successful implementation.

The ‘IATP Explainer’ series consists of longer forms interviews recorded via Zoom with African development, legal, or trade experts. A recent explainer video with Martin Van Staden, a well-known South African political commentator and the Editor-in-chief of the Rational Standard, the Editor-at-large at Being Libertarian, and the Deputy Head of Policy Research at the Institute of Race Relations in South Africa, talks about the prospects for trade in South Africa.

Finally, the ‘All Things Africa’ series talks about a diverse array of topics related to free trade and economic freedom. They have published videos on non-tariff barriers, how western subsidies undermine African producers, and how trade can reduce food insecurity in Africa, among others.

We are immensely excited to see these huge successes in Africa and look forward to what is to come! Find out more on the IATP website: www.theiatp.org

IATP Director, Alexander Hammond, met with the leaders of various partner organizations to strategize about future collaborations.




Top row, from left to right: Espoir Bindu (CDE DRC), Alexander Hammond (IATP), Lanre Peter and Stephen Oyedml (Ominira). Bottom row, from left to right: Linda Kavuka (ASFL and African Liberty), Aimable Manirakiza (CDE Great Lakes), Mugabi John Socrates (ALED), Evans Exaud (Liberty Sparks), and John Mustafa (SOLE).




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