TrustAfrica works to advance equitable economic development in Africa. Our work seeks to address economic injustices at national and global levels. To this end, we advocate for the reform of national, regional, and global economic institutions, rules, policies, and practices to ensure that the continent’s wealth benefits African citizens equitably and Africa’s resources are managed in a sustainable manner. Numerous injustices characterise the current global economic architecture including trade relations that disadvantage African countries; restricted space for African countries to independently set their own development priorities and make choices on economic policies; imposition of development models that continue to undermine industrialization and structural economic transformation; contracts and licensing regimes, especially in the natural resources sector that tend to benefit foreign multi-national corporations at the expense of African countries; and a global financial governance architecture that promotes net outflow of capital (both illicit and licit) from Africa to the developed world. As part of the post Covid-19 transition, our work advocates for building forward better – focusing on the equitable and sustainable utilization of the continent’s natural resources and biodiversity, including land and water for the continent’s economic and social transformation.
A TrustAfrica mission visited Bamako, Mali on 2, 3 and 4 October 2021 to meet with the leaders of the Temedt Association on the situation of victims of discrimination based on descent and slavery. TrustAfrica and Temedt after working sessions went to the Children's City in Bamako where more than 131 people who have been unjustly displaced from their village, Baghamabougou, reside. Most of these displaced persons are affected by modern slavery practices in their local communities. They have been driven away from their villages because they refused to submit to the abusive demands of their masters. According to human rights activists, thousands of people have been driven from their villages in the Khaye region as a result of slavery.
One of the reasons we prioritize democracy and governance as one of our three pillars at TrustAfrica is the ongoing need to consolidate the gains of democracy on the continent. The last few years have witnessed a resurgence in coup d’états which had receded on the African landscape. Mali saw two coups in quick succession (2020 and 2021), before Guinea’s President Alpha Condé was deposed by the army earlier this month. In this moment in history, we are deeply concerned by the destabilization caused by these unconstitutional changes of government, the backseat approach adopted by our regional governance architecture and what these intimate about the growing role of militaries in our democracies. We are also asking what the key ingredients are to consolidate and stabilize the pan-African democratic project.
Our programs Director, Briggs Bomba moderated a session at the 7th East African Philanthropy Conference on 8 September 2021, in an exciting session which had a strong clarion call for big business, philanthropy, and Pan-Africans at large to move “beyond our egos, logos & silos to converge for impact in Africa!” This was the call made by Arif Neky, Senior Advisor for UN Strategic Partnerships and Coordinator of the SDG Partnership Platform (SDGPP) as part of the Ensuring Relevance Session under the theme: “Stretching the Band, Failing Forward for Philanthropy to SOAR.” The calls for philanthropy to assume the lead beyond emergencies and towards social development given its catalytic capability was echoed throughout the three-day Conference. The energy around private sector finding its advocacy role through philanthropy was electric and indicative of the possibilities for more coherent African-financed development and accountability.
Ebrima Sall, Executive Director, TrustAfrica
The specter of unconstitutional takeover of power seems to be haunting Africa again. In the past 18 months or so, there have been four military coups (one in Sudan, two in Mali and one in Guinea), the killing of a sitting head of state in a battle against armed rebels (in Chad), and an attempt to overthrow the transition government in Sudan. The military takeovers in Sudan and Mali followed long periods of mass protests, a little bit like what happened in Egypt ten years ago. But military takeovers are just that: the military being in control of the state, invariably translating into restrictions of basic freedoms and possibilities of democratic expression.
The political crises in Libya and Central African Republic are far from being resolved. In several other countries, the heads of state have amended the constitutions so as to be able to run for a third or fourth term of office, a practice that has also been called a form of coup d’Etat.
TrustAfrica, in conjunction with UNESCO and CODESRIA, has successfully organized a Training Workshop on Future Literacies in Africa. The workshop, held in Bamako, Mali, on 1 and 2 October 2021, was mainly to prepare young people from the continent to better understand the present and anticipate the future. Participants were drawn from ten African countries. The young people who participated in this training said they were ready to apply the knowledge acquired and share it with their colleagues who were not present at the meeting. Meanwhile, the three organizations, who collaborated to organize the training workshop, have reiterated their willingness to continue to support young Africans in the struggle for the emergence of a peaceful, just and egalitarian continent where individual and collective freedoms are respected.
The work of the High-Level Stakeholders Forum on African Humanities got off to a good start on 28 September 2021 with the interventions of eminent academics and researchers. Nearly 70 participants composed of researchers, teachers, intellectuals, academics, students and decision-makers, from the 5 regions of Africa and its diaspora were in Bamako to discuss the future of African Humanities and African languages in the struggle for the emancipation and development of the continent. In his speech at the opening ceremony, Dr. Ebrima Sall, Executive Director of TrustAfrica, expressed his appreciation to all the partners and highlighted the pan-Africanist character of TrustAfrica and its commitment to freedom, democracy, equity and peace. Dr. Sall also hosted a conference on the theme: Eurocentrism and Domination of the Humanities which was well received by the participants.
The TrustAfrica Shaping the Future Fellowship was launched in August 2021, with the first Senior fellow joining ranks with a focus on African Philanthropy and an incoming fellow scheduled for October 2021 focusing on anticipatory governance and innovation, Africa’s development and the future of work. The Fellowship is focused on reflections on key themes related to the future we want for Africa and is structured into three categories depending on the duration, as follows:
- 3 months – TrustAfrica provides a small grant; with the expectation of a brief write up sharing key insights on the particular area of reflection.
- 6 months – TrustAfrica provides a medium-sized grant; with the expectation of a more elaborate write up sharing key insights on the particular area of reflection.
- 12 months – TrustAfrica provides a substantive grant; with the expectation of in–depth research and write-up on the particular area, including the possibility of a book.
All Fellowships are part time with an expectation of a reflection and/or knowledge product at the end of the fellowship. Watch this space for more information on TrustAfrica Shaping the Future Fellowship openings.
By Tendisai Chigwedere
Being a learning manager at TrustAfrica, I basically get involved in everything we do. One of my latest assignments was to participate in the Stop the Bleeding Campaign Strategic Retreat earlier this month. Six years after launching the STB Consortium members met to take stock of impact, lessons learned and the direction of the campaign going forward. What an exciting process. In our last newsletter we shared about our approach of collaboration for collective impact and cited the STB campaign as a flagship experience of this. In various settings where I represent TrustAfrica I’ve heard the STB campaign referenced as a solid example of collective impact where African-led institutions take the lead on an issue before any funding comes in to shape the narrative from a Pan-African perspective because of an inherent belief in its critical importance to the continent. For us at TrustAfrica, this strategic review retreat was important on multiple levels.
TrustAfrica and their partner Solidaridad West Africa launched the "Reclaim Sustainability! Programme" project on the 30th of July 2021 in Accra, Ghana, to promote inclusive and sustainable supply chains. The theme of the launch was promoting inclusive and sustainable supply chains in Ghana. The launch was a successful event widely reported by various media platforms, including newspapers , television stations, and radio, and was live-streamed on our social media platforms.