African consists of around 1.65 lakh rich people and their collective worth come to nearly $660 billion. This has given rise to a western style and formalised philanthropy. Most of the entrepreneurs are becoming more strategic and sophisticated in their philanthropic efforts also.
The time for African philanthropy is great at the moment. The best part is that the momentum and interest around philanthropy in Africa has grown by leaps and bounds. Most of the Governments never considered philanthropy on their policy process. If at all they did so, it was done in a unique way. In Africa, the governments viewed philanthropy as a western agenda to influence the change.
Philanthropy takes the Centre stage
The philanthropy in Africa is taking a centre stage and role for the first time in its history. Its role is majorly in questions of development and sustainability. It is also informing policy processes at a national level. It was in 2015 that the African Union launched the African Union foundation to mobilise the voluntary contributions in support of the Union's agenda. Also, SADC is developing a framework to include philanthropic activities in the integration agenda also. Similar is the case with Rwanda, where the government is trying to engage philanthropy in implementing Vision 2020.
Philanthropy & Civil society
Philanthropy is an important part of the civil society. It enjoys some privileges and made some narratives which are flexible in its funding part. This is perfect for civil society in various spaces. A civil society needs the support provided by philanthropy to perform its roles effectively.
Government & philanthropy
There are chances of having a collision between philanthropy and government while pursuing government agendas. It may be at the expense of civil society. Government is trying to engage philanthropy in order to meet global and national targets. They try to align philanthropic interventions and resources, that too with priorities of the nation. The value of risk-taking is also taken care of. Philanthropy is generally characterised by innovation, stakeholder engagement among others. Citizens are also pushing their government on service delivery to be done properly.
Philanthropy & Development
The growth of philanthropic giving and the financial and non-financial contribution have helped a lot in achieving common goals. The philanthropic donors' flexibility and capacity for innovation and ability to leverage more funds have been recognised well. The efforts to increase the co-operation between philanthropic organisations and government are welcomed with open hands,
What next for philanthropy?
Philanthropy should firstly engage governments strategically and maintain the independence of action and approaches. Secondly, it should identify the areas of collaboration, which include clear-cut demarcation of political activities and developmental efforts.
And thirdly, it should support the civil society and use its influence to push governments and others for reforms.