Why Give: Philanthropy in Africa

Harnessing the power and innovation of Africa’s philanthropic leaders and social investors, the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) is shaping a global network of those who are committed to broad-based growth and inclusive development in Africa.

In a recently launched video series, “Why Give,” members of the APF are interviewed, sharing their personal philanthropic trajectory as well as key strategies and lessons learned along the way. This series serves as a knowledge-sharing platform to inspire emerging philanthropists and help expand a growing learning community of strategic African philanthropists.

Throughout the series we hear from African entrepreneurs, business leaders and founders of philanthropic foundations. For example, Equity Bank CEO, James Mwangi shares his experience in the financial sector with the APF community and provides examples of how to lift people out of poverty through access to capital. Mwangi believes “exclusion leads to poverty” and shares that the Equity Group Foundation is serving as a “vehicle for creating opportunities to those who have been excluded.” Business leader, Ashish Thakkar is the founder of the Mara Group and the Mara Foundation and shares that his passion for enabling opportunity brings purpose and meaning to his work. According to Thakkar, “philanthropy is a very personal initiative, which has to be conducted by your heart and not your head.”

We also hear from Toyin Saraki, Founder and President of the WellBeing Foundation Africa, who believes that philanthropists must have a personal connection to giving. “When I had my harrowing experience in childbirth, what saved me was information” said Saraki while reflecting upon why she started her foundation. Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Executive Chairperson of the Higher Life Foundation is excited about the fact that “there is a growing number of local philanthropists who are very active, who are very connected to the people on the ground.” During her interview, Masiyiwa illustrates the importance of community integration in philanthropy as a mechanism to enable trust and greater coalition-building. “The communities that I go to are the communities in which I grew up in” says Masiyiwa. To her, giving back is about protecting and championing for her people.

Hear from more African leaders including Nkululeko Sowazi of Kasigo Tiso Holdings, Gloria Atta of the TY Danjuma Foundation and others at philanthropyforum.org/why-give. For more conversations on strategic philanthropy in Africa, follow @APForg on Twitter.


The African Philanthropy Forum (APF) seeks to build and continuously expand a learning community of Africa’s strategic philanthropists and social investors committed to inclusive and sustainable economic development throughout the continent; to embed that community in a larger, global network of strategic philanthropists and development experts who share their goals; and, through educational programs and match-making services, to inform, enable, and enhance the development impact of their giving and investing. The APF is an affiliate of the Global Philanthropy Forum. For more information, please visit the APF website.

We gratefully acknowledge APF funders: USAID, Higher Life Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, Anonymous, Rockefeller Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, The Elma Growth Foundation, Dangote Foundation, James Mwangi and the World Affairs Council.

The Global Philanthropy Forum is a project of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.