Eritrea is the 189th worst country in the world for doing business out of 190 listed on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. Also one of the poorest with GNI per capita at $591. It is politically repressed with little hope of change at the moment but Students for Liberty has an Eritrean chapter in Nairobi where many Eritrean refuges live. So we have funded two of their events in the believe that without a change in ideas in favour of freedom there can be no solutions. But we appreciate it is a long term project.
NFS funded an event on 14th January 2017 in Nairobi run jointly by Eritrean Students for Liberty which works from Nairobi and Teachings of Entrepreneurship on Anti Poverty Movement (TEAM) from Ethiopia. About 40 attended. Much of the discussion was based on chapters of Foundations of a Free Society, written by Eamonn Butler, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs and translated into Amharic and published by TEAM with funding from NFS. It is available for free download on the IEA website. Copies of it and of the CD Ideas for a Free Society were given to all participants. Participants joined in the lively discussions.
Eritrean Students for Liberty ran a second event at Tangaza University College, Nairobi on June 24th for exiled Eritreans because it is not possible to have such discussions in Eritrea. The title/theme of the event was Liberty and Free Society from the Eritrean Context. The purpose of the event was to teach mostly young people about the merits of liberty, freedom, free society and role of government in a free society and toleration. The event helped the participants to a better understanding of the foundations of liberty and empower themselves with knowledge and skills on how to advance the cause of liberty. They are subsequently expected to mobilize their community members and disseminate the merits of free society. It was organised by Teklemariam Bekit of Eritrean Students for Liberty who also organised a similar event in February.
Foundations of a Free Society in Amharic and copies of the CD were again given to participants.
First speaker Teklemarian Bekit, a member of the Executive of African SFL and PhD student at the Catholic University of East Africa emphasised that the purpose of government is to expand the freedom of the people and not restrict it. Next Andrea Nicodemo Idris of ESFL emphasised that a culture of tolerance is a corner stone of liberty and we must respect, accept and appreciate the views of others who are different from us for a peaceful co-existence. Linda Kavuka, an advocate and member of the Executive of African SFL and emphasised that freedom creates prosperity by unleashing human talent, innovation and invention. That societies which embrace freedom are rich and trade and economic activity lift people from poverty. Finally Rita Mazzocchi, legal office and PhD student warned against wanting to replace the oppressors with their own version of oppression and that any change must restore the humanity of both oppressed and oppressor.