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Concepts and Framework for Teaching, Research and Outreach of African Philanthropy

April 30, 2016

A paper with concise texts and extensive footnotes is not amenable to an integrating condensation or précis as an Executive Summary. Therefore, to assist readers with little time, this page offers a synopsis of key areas of substance and their sectional location allowing more directed access for those with specific interests.The pages which follow establish the scholarly foundation of new academic chair with practical intentions that a business school is meant to provide. The Chair is devoted to a topic – African Philanthropy, not philanthropy in Africa - which is seriously under-researched, poorly or prejudicially understood as 'traditional' and anti-modern as well as developmentally under-appreciated. These conditions are overlain with external vocabularies and meanings which are not adequately emanating from the continent's history and lived experience of deeply rooted pro-social behaviour of giving or 'gifting'. Hence, missing in today's discourse is a deep understanding of African Philanthropy in its own right with what it can tell us about better ways to tackle the continents many problems by building on its inherent potentials. Establishing such an 'operational' narrative is one purpose of the joint initiative between the Wits Business School and the Southern Africa trust; a story which must have relevance and traction in the lives of Africa's people.A theoretical framework in section two introduces a complexity view of social, cultural economic, political, linguistic and other processes leading to a contemporary African landscape where gifting is expressed through three institutionalised gifting practices: endogenous, exogenous and blended. An ontological approach explains this long pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial trajectory, concentrating on a period starting around the beginning of this millennium. Readers most interested in this era could start looking at Section five. When doing so, please note that section three draws attention in to the power of words. To be ontologically coherent, new narratives often require suitable nomenclatures, in this case a choice of 'gifting' rather than 'giving' or of 'philanthropy' – understood as a practice within gifting - which is a poorly translatable term and concept in an African languages and moral philosophy of ubuntu. From a communications point of view, the choice for a distinctive terminology will continually call for justification and explanation until recognition of its narrative value for comprehending Africa's story in its own right.Since the start of the millennium, practices of gifting by and on the continent are undergoing rapid changes inviting excitement at their innovation and concern about their effects in, for example, areas of public policy, rights, universal access to public services and democratic governance. Discussing these and similar issues can be found in section six which is followed by a detailed review of local resource mobilization from private sources for public benefit derived from within the continent and its Diaspora. Across the three institutional types, uncertain but indicative estimates of their monetary value are in the order of US$ 55 – 85 billion per annum. Including the non-monetary and non-material value of gifting could take this (much) higher. Counting foreign aid, both official and private, would add the monetary by almost the same amount again.1 A planned concentration on local resource mobilisation in African gifting will contribute to reducing dependency on an aid system not known for its reliability.The concluding section seven switches focus to various issues of embedding the Chair of African philanthropy at the Wits Business School. Many ideas and content are inspired by participants at a pan- African inaugural seminar held in March 2016. This event has helped to create a 10 year profile and value preposition for the Chair at WBS in terms, for example, of the latter's Vision 2022, with guiding principles of excellence, a research-intensive agenda, a deeper business reading of African countries, transformation and more. With a tentative implementation schedule, these and other contributions must translate into a viable business model, a task which lies ahead.

Philanthropy and Development in Southern Africa: Executive Summary

May 15, 2015

The Rosetta Stone, created in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic era under the reign of King Ptolemy V, is an archaeological gem for history buffs, documenting a decree in three ancient scripts: demotic, hieroglyphics, and ancient Greek. It is credited as the key to understanding the language of the ancient empire. But it was also key to their economics: the Stone was a virtual tax agreement granting mega exemptions to priests, military and other elites, and in the process, shifting the tax burden to the poor and the slaves. Operationalising poverty required governance: it would fall to the priests and other philanthropists to provide carefully managed 'relief' when things became unbearable. The purpose, of course, was maintaining the system rather than changing it.

Blessed Is the Hand That Giveth: A Call to Philanthropy in Kenya

March 5, 2015

If Kenyans give so generously, why do we score so poorly in the philanthropic department? The reason is that while Kenyans are great at informal charity that addresses an immediate need, they are a little less successful at structured philanthropy, where money is geared towards a specific goal, usually long-term.

How to Spread It - Salome Lemma: Amplifying African Voices

January 25, 2015

An interview with Ethiopian-born Solome Lemma who is vocal on the subject of "Africa by Africans". Sick of the perception of Africa as either corrupt and poverty riddled, or vaguely "on the rise", she has worked to open the conversation to more diverse and nuanced African voices.

Philanthropy and Development in Southern Africa: Philanthropy and Illicit Financial Flows Options for African Philanthropy to Support Better Economic Governance and Reduce Illicit Financial Flows

January 1, 2015

This paper will consider the interrelationship between illicit financial flows (IFFs) and philanthropy in the South African and African economies. The objective of this paper is to explore ways in which African philanthropy can support efforts to improve economic governance and reduce IFFs. Illicit flows have been estimated at over US$1.2 trillion globally in 2012, with particularly harmful effects in vulnerable economies and in African extractive economies in particular (Global Integrity Foundation, 2013; UNECA, 2014). The issue is multi-faceted and involves philanthropic organisations at several different levels: firstly as organisations themselves, secondly with regard to the organisations and individuals with which they work, and thirdly, at a broader scale, in terms of their influence, advocacy and campaign efforts aimed at structural change in the macro economy for the benefit and wellbeing of the poor and excluded. The third is important since the scale of funds that philanthropy can provide to ameliorate poverty, inequality, social exclusion and clean environments is currently considerably offset by the amount of resources directed away from the vulnerable due to IFFs and the consequences of the way the global economy is designed and regulated more generally. Ameliorating IFFs requires building cross-issue networks and platforms for advocacy and campaigning; moving to an African philanthropy narrative and funding base; improving internal transparency; while continuously acting to reduce opacity in the giving sector and beyond, in order to build economic justice.

Philanthropy and Development in Southern Africa: Tax (In)Justice and Philanthropy

January 1, 2015

In the Philanthropy & Development in Southern Africa series, three related research papers; on philanthropy and resource governance (Shauna Mottiar), on illicit flows and tax (Khadija Sharife), and on illicit flows and the potential and policy required to change economic structures (Sarah Bracking), all focus on the contemporary and enduring problem of economic injustice in Africa in the context of huge and increasing outflows of illegally transferred wealth. The three papers explore illicit financial flows as both cause and consequence of malign structures of political economy, and then ask what philanthropists can best do about the agenda of illicit flows and economic justice.

Philanthropy and Development in Southern Africa: Philanthropy and Resource Governance

January 1, 2015

Philanthropic practice in the resource extraction sector is significantly under researched and forms the basis for this study. An obvious concern for social justice scholars and development scholars alike is that massive profits accumulated from resource extraction initiatives in Africa are seldom re-invested in the communities directly impacted or even more broadly in the development agendas of countries that house these resources. This paper considers the role of philanthropy in the resource governance debate. It begins by outlining the scope of resource governance and considering understandings of philanthropy. Drawing on preliminary evidence from three (random) examples of resource extraction in Africa, it argues that philanthropic practice has some way to go before reaching its optimal potential and that further research is required to gain more insight into this potential. The paper concludes with a discussion on philanthropy's role in resource governance and incorporates a series of recommendations.

Dis) Enabling the Public Sphere: Civil Society Regulation in Africa (Volume 1)

January 1, 2010

This is the first volume in a series that considers the public sphere and how it is regulated in post-colonial Africa. The series reflects a greater concern over the accelerated levels at which the public space for citizens and their formations is shrinking.

How Can We Make Aid to Civil Society Organisations More Effective in Overcoming Poverty

June 1, 2007

This policy brief is based on the findings of the research commissioned by the Southern Africa Trust on: Aid Effectiveness: Trends and impacts of shifting financial flows to civil society in southern Africa.

Re-inventing Civil Society Formations for More Effective Pro-poor Regional Policy Influencing in Southern Africa: A Quantitative Assessment of Progress in the Southern Africa Trust's Work Between Baseline Indicators and Results in 2010

June 1, 2007

This report is a comparative analysis of the Southern Africa Trust baseline survey carried out in 2007 and a mid term evaluation done in 2010 on capacity for, and extent and quality of engagement in, pro-poor regional policy influencing by civil society formations in the southern Africa region, against which the Trust could evaluate the impact of its work.

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