Mercatus Center Receives Grant to Identify Local Solutions to Poverty in Africa

Posted: June 13, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

Last month, the Mercatus Center at George Mason, along with its partners, the Free Market Foundation and the Institute for Economic Affairs, was awarded a $500,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation to pursue their “Enterprise Africa!” initiative. Among the Templeton Foundation’s primary interests is identifying workable solutions to eliminating poverty around the world.

“Our challenge is to make scholarship matter in the world,” says Peter Boettke, professor of economics and director of research for the center’s Global Prosperity Initiative. “This grant enables me and my colleagues at the center to do just that, to put ideas into action and make a difference in the lives of the world’s poor. This is a great opportunity for the center and the students involved with the Global Prosperity Initiative. The grant will help us energize our network of scholars and students, and it will help them focus on how their work can make a difference in the world.”

Awarded as part of the Templeton Foundation’s “What Works in Enterprise-Based Solutions to Poverty” competition, the grant will allow the center and its partners to develop an initiative that will involve sending out field teams to various locations throughout Africa, including some of its poorest nations, such as South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The primary goal of the effort will be to study and identify possible solutions to poverty at the local level, and the field teams will work closely with entrepreneurs from the host countries. These entrepreneurs have already shown that they are capable of finding practical local methods to combat poverty and its related causes and effects, which include poor educational systems, government corruption, poor health care, and famine.

In a press release, Enterprise Africa! Project Director Brian Hooks said, “The Western world’s failure to spur development in Africa demonstrates that poverty is not going to be eliminated by ideas born of Western elites at conferences on wealth redistribution. [Our initiative] will demonstrate how entrepreneurs are erasing poverty locally and sharing their successes with other entrepreneurs, governments, and international development groups who clearly need models that work.”

For more information on the Mercatus Center, visit the web site.

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