By Tendai Murisa, chief executive officer of TrustAfrica.
There is a growing recognition of the role that philanthropy can play in Africa’s quest for equitable and democratic transformation. Until recently, philanthropy (and, more broadly, aid) has mostly been viewed as a form of support given from outside the continent. Indeed, the story of Africa’s liberation and even early post-independence development initiatives would have been very different if it were not for the investments made by a number of philanthropic foundations based outside the continent. However, there is a new excitement in the continent around the possibilities of home-grown philanthropy. Many important strategy documents have been developed about the key role for philanthropy: at a continental level, the African Union’s Agenda 2063; at a regional level, the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015–2063; and at a national level, strategies such as those in Rwanda.
Since the turn of the century the continent has seen a growth in the number of wealthy individuals (those with an annual income of more than $150,000 or with investible assets of more than $500,000). According to a 2013 report by UBS and TrustAfrica,1 there are approximately 130,000 millionaires across the conti- nent, and more foundations have been established in this period than at any other moment in the history of Africa. Africa’s richest man is estimated to be worth $21.6 billion. Africa’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs) have been making significant philanthropic investments in health, education, entrepreneurial de- velopment and infrastructure improvements, in the process helping to counter the begging-bowl narra- tive that has so strongly defined African development discourse over the decades.