The future of African philanthropy

By Richard Lee | October 18th, 2012

The African Grantmakers Network (AGN) second biennial assembly will bring together around 400 grantmakers and other philanthropic organizations in Johannesburg from Monday 29th October to Friday 2nd November - under the theme of Growing African Philanthropy: What’s New? What’s Now? What’s Next?

Africa is changing. There are signs of new energies, new interests, new actors, and new wealth. Yet, under-development, inequality, and exclusion persist. Old practices, relationships, and frameworks of social investment can no longer contain these contradictions.

Coordinated by the Southern Africa Trust, the AGN assembly will examine tough issues like poverty, inequality and social exclusion frankly to frame a practice of philanthropy and social investment that can rise to the challenge of creating systemic change for social justice in Africa.

It will scan the diverse terrain of philanthropy in Africa to identify new trends, showcase emerging practices and exciting innovations, and craft a shared agenda to build the field in a changing context.

The assembly will highlight the local genius and potential of African philanthropy, and focus on the rich array of assets – human, material and financial – that can be marshalled to build African agency to solve Africa’s problems. Through interactive dialogue among delegates from business, government and civil society in Africa, the assembly will generate new energy, ideas and action to grow philanthropy and social investment on the continent.

The African Grantmakers’ Network was launched in Accra, Ghana in July 2009. It is a platform for the promotion of an African voice and agenda for philanthropy. Its vision is a transformed, relevant, vibrant and sustainable practice of African philanthropy. The AGN secretariat is currently hosted by TrustAfrica in Dakar, Senegal. The first pan-African assembly of the AGN was held in Nairobi in November 2010 with almost 300 participants from across the continent and other parts of the world.

The key movers of AGN include the Dakar-based TrustAfrica, the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) based in Accra, the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) and the Akiba Uhaki Foundation based in Nairobi, the Foundation for Civil Society based in Dar Es Salaam, and the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Trust.

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