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Philanthropy in Africa

Afrilanthropy: Why African philanthropy needs its own name

The widely held understanding of philanthropy in Africa recognizes and presupposes the flow of resources, effort and generosity largely in one direction: from outside of Africa into Africa. For centuries that notion has remained mostly unchanged. Africa has the reputation of being a foreign aid dependent continent, which is in reality far from the truth.

There is a growing body of evidence that Africa’s wealth is increasing and high net worth Africans are sprouting across the continent at a remarkable rate. The 2014 Africa Wealth Report indicates that the number of high net worth individuals in Africa grew by over 150% between 2000 and 2013, more than double the global rate. This has resulted in the emergence of foundations and charities set up by Africans like Aliko Dangote, Mo Ibrahim, Tony Elumelu, Folorunsho Alakija and Graça Machel to name a few. 

Philanthropic Foundations and African Giving Culture

In Kevin Marsh’s piece on Africa’s science funding gap published in Quartz earlier this month, he cites African philanthropy and philanthropists as potential sources of funding for scientific research. He poses the question, “Will there ever be an African equivalent of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?” It’s a query that merits a considered response.

Lets not overlook the ‘small givers’ as key contributors to African philanthropy

When we discuss philanthropy within the African continent, too often the focus is on the wealthiest class of Africans and the large contributions they can make. However, what matters more when it comes to charitable giving is the potential for billions of aggregate dollars from millions of small givers.

For instance, two million Somalis abroad send home $1.4 billion, the equivalent to 23 per cent of the country’s GDP, and higher than any amount of foreign aid. Overall, African diaspora’s contribution amounts to $63 billion per year. Communities use it for education, homebuilding, land purchases and farm improvements, all critical enablers of social transformation.

Tsitsi Masiyiwa on how philanthropy is changing

Since its inception in 2014 the Africa Philanthropy Forum says it has engaged 680 current and emerging philanthropists and social entrepreneurs across Africa, building their capacity to give strategically. Watch this interview on CNBC Africa.

Trends in African Philanthropy

African philanthropy is moving into a defining era. Across the continent, for the first time in history, African philanthropy is beginning to take a formal and central role in questions of development and sustainability and is increasingly informing policy processes at a national level.

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