A new era for African philanthropy research

Gideon Boako

Academics with an interest in the African philanthropy landscape will gather at the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) conference in Accra, Ghana from 21–24 June. It is a gathering that is overdue. One of the big questions on the agenda will be how to disaggregate the roles of philanthropy and civil society in the continent’s development.

Africa is growing in terms of the size of its population, its demographic transitions and its wealth, but the continent is also becoming increasingly unequal. What is more disturbing is that the growth that is celebrated is, for the most part, the cause of that inequality.

Civil society groups and community giving both explain much of Africa’s development but, contrary to the view that philanthropy and civil society are part of one undifferentiated idea, the drivers and logics of these gilded concepts are more complex.

Kliptown, Soweto, Johannesburg. Africa is growing in terms of the size of its population, its demographic transitions and its wealth, but the continent is also becoming increasingly unequal. Photo credit: Nagarjun Kandukuru.

 
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