African Philanthropy Conference


Thursday, May 16, 2019 (All day) to Friday, May 17, 2019 (All day)


Donald Gordon Auditorium - Johannesburg, South Africa

On May 16-17, 2019, the African Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment at the Wits Business School, the African Philanthropy Forum, TrustAfrica and the Harvard University’s Center for African Studies will host a two-day workshop in Johannesburg to explore key themes in African philanthropy and social investment.

The workshop will convene philanthropists (African and non-African), Non-Governmental Organizations that work in this area, policy-makers, the private sector, and academic researchers to explore how together we can formulate a coherent framework for African philanthropy. The 21st century can be Africa’s, but Africans will have to claim it.

The conference will be held alongside a PhD workshop that will bring together more than 20 African students based at different universities in Africa and beyond. A special session will be dedicated to a discussion by doctoral students on their research topics. In addition, ACPSI has commissioned six (6) research projects on various forms of philanthropy and social investment that will be presented at the conference.


The 21st century will culminate in a unique convergence of opportunities and challenges on the African continent. Its population will reach an estimated four billion people by 2100, by which point the majority of Africans will live in the cities. Wealth will continue to flourish: despite decreased commodity prices, sub-Saharan Africa’s overall GDP increased by three percent in 2016, twice the rate of the United States. Meanwhile, the World Wealth Report 2018 estimated that the size of high net worth individuals reached 167,970 with a combined wealth of US$1,7 trillion. The size of the HNWIs population increased by 6.9% compared to 2.1% growth in the Middle East and 9.9% in Europe. And the HNWIs wealth increased by 10.3% in Africa compared to 2.9% in the Middle East, 7.8% in Europe, 8.8% in Latin America and 10.3% in North America. By all means, this growth makes for interesting reading and implications on philanthropy.


This raises the question of the effectiveness of philanthropy in Africa.
What is the blueprint for African philanthropy?


No doubt Africa has seen this growth since 2008 and in line with global projections, by 2025 HNWIs wealth could reach US$100 trillion and this will see an increase in wealth in Africa. Yet in the backdrop of such immense growth and wealth sit dire humanitarian crises, a demographic boom, public health epidemics, and, most notably, the looming threat of climate change – a spectre that undoubtedly haunts the poorest on the continent. In sum, Africa will serve as a major site of contestation for the most important issues of our time.



ORGANIZERS: Harvard University Center for African Studies, the African Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment at the Wits Business School, the African Philanthropy Forum, TrustAfrica.