African Philanthropy for Africa is the Future

As foreign-born and raised giving is still the mainstream philanthropic form in Africa nowadays, homegrown giving is emerging to become the new force and possibly the future for Africa.

     There has been a vast amount of charity, donations, and philanthropy going to and coming from the post-colonial Africa for decades. While those that went to Africa were via corporations, foundations, institutions, etc., those that have come from Africa were via foundations, groups, and individuals.

     Charity, Donations, and Philanthropic funds go to Africa primarily through big corporations, global foundations, and multinational institutions. According to the Foundation Center’s report, the number of the US foundations giving to Africa increased from 135 in 2002 to 248 in 2012 along with the amount of funding growing from $289 million to $1.46 billion respectively. Similarly, 36 out of 54 African countries have benefited from the financial support 1. However, these figures do
not include the in-kind forms of philanthropy that most Africans receive and depend on.

     Charity, Donations, and Philanthropic funds, originated in Africa, are generated primarily from local foundations, community groups, and wealthy individuals. In modern-day Africa, giving comes typically in the way of high-net-worth Africans making donations to institutions and causes, local organizations raising funds from various sources, or communities pooling resources together to tackle their own challenges. These are local solutions for local problems. For instance, the Safaricom Foundation based in Kenya invests in various sectors, such as health, education, economic empowerment, water, technology, and disaster relief for Kenyan communities and people.

     The most notable U.S. organizations that have contributed millions even billions US dollars to the continent are: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and many other private foundations. Many of them choose to fund international coalitions or organizations, such as the World Health Organization, which has extensive programs throughout Africa. 2 While private foundations receive most of the attention from the U.S. giving to Africa, tax exempt charities that sponsor donor advised funds and US-based nonprofits that have operations in Africa are also playing a significant role, which deserves more attention in future research.

     Many African wealthy individuals have established their own foundations and aiming at doing good for their home countries. The notable examples include:

  • Aliko Dangote and Dangote Foundation in Nigeria;
  • Nicky Oppenheimer and Brenthurst Foundation in South Africa;
  • Patrice Motsepe and Motsepe Foundation in South Africa;
  • Mohammed Dewji and Mo Dewji Foundation in Tanzania;
  • Strive Masiyiwa and Higher Life Foundation in Zimbabwe.3

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Jimmy Quansah

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