Cardinal Turkson, who is Pope Francis’ head of the Dicastry for the Promotion of Integral Human Development (which begins operations on 1 January 2017) addressed assembled guests, including HRH Princess Michael of Kent and William Shawcross Chairman of the Charity Commission.

Speaking in conversation with Shanker Singham, Director of Economics and Prosperity Studies at the Legatum Institute, the Cardinal explained that most people's understanding of 'capitalism' is not of genuine capitalism, but a distorted “crony capitalism” that doesn’t benefit everyone. He went on to explain that free trade—that is genuinely free—had the potential to do enormous good in the world as long as at its core was the human element: that it served the wellbeing of humans. He added that when recently asked, the Pope himself had indicated this was the model of economy he favoured, with the human at the heart of it.

His Eminence discussed his new Vatican role that draws together many areas of the human world under one dicastry: health, development, infrastructure. It has given him the chance to look at a number of different development models and new ways of thinking about development, including in his own native Ghana an idea for an “Enterprise City” designed from the outset to benefit those living and working within it as much as those companies and businesses invested in it.

The idea is also one that Shanker Singham has been exploring not only with the Cardinal in Ghana but is a generalised concept for use around the world. (See James Fischelis' recent Legatum Institute paper, Prosperity Without Borders). The other area of the world where the Cardinal saw potential for this model was around Syria where safe havens outside Syrian territory could be provided for refugees but based on a model where their entrepreneurial talents and life skills were not lost but harnessed in an Enterprise Zone. The ultimate goal being that eventually when they could return to Syria those skills had not been lost or abandoned to wider dispersal and settlement around the world but retained to help rebuild the war ravaged country.

The talk was followed by a Q&A with guests, before the Cardinal set off for a school to talk about an educational programme he is developing.

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