African Philanthropy Forum launched

The Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF) has announced today the formation of its most recent regional affiliate, the African Philanthropy Forum (APF). Like the GPF, the APF will take the form of a peer-learning network of philanthropists — grant-makers and social investors — committed to advancing equity and opportunity in the developing world. APF members in particular will work to contribute to the expansion of strategic philanthropy by Africans in Africa, while taking part in the GPF's global community.

"Twenty-seven out of 30 of Africa's largest economies are experiencing extraordinary economic growth. This represents an enormous opportunity to advance the social good," said Jane Wales , president and CEO of Global Philanthropy Forum. "But that growth, while robust, is not always broad-based. And development, while rapid, is not always inclusive. And so poverty persists. These generous African men and women — many at the height of their careers — are determined to change this reality and ensure that the benefits of economic opportunity are more evenly shared."

The startup phase of the APF will be guided by a core cadre of philanthropists dedicated to the APF's goals. Among them is Tony O. Elumelu, CON, a leading African entrepreneur and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who noted that "Africans are now setting their own development agenda, and the vision behind the African Philanthropy Forum is to create a platform that aligns our collective efforts to transform the continent from within. We are using our own models of philanthropy and our deep understanding of the local context, while leveraging strategic partnerships across the continent. Our efforts are bolstered by the overwhelming support from our international partners, who are committed to assisting our work."

MasterCard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy , also a member of the cadre, added, "The early members of the APF are coming together to promote ethical leadership and have made a commitment to mentorship of other emerging philanthropists throughout the continent. And because the APF members will be embedded in the global community that is the GPF, their influence will be felt well beyond the continent."

James Mwangi , CEO and managing director of the Equity Bank and chairman of the Equity Group Foundation, agreed, noting that "Africa has come of age and can now compete with the rest of the world. Just as our economic innovation offers inspiration for others outside of Africa, so now can our philanthropy. Through the APF and its connection to GPF, we have an opportunity to inform the flow of philanthropic dollars from within and from outside the continent."

"Africa has a deep-rooted culture of giving and mutual support but few formal philanthropic institutions," added Toyin Saraki, founder and president of the WellBeing Foundation Africa. "I used to think that the key missing ingredient was money. Strategic philanthropy requires getting to the heart of the problem. In the case of the health, education and rights of women, that starts with expectations — the expectations of women and of society more broadly. My hope is that emerging APF members will use all tools at their disposal to solve problems at their source."

Among the founding members of the APF taking part in the leadership cadre are pioneer African philanthropists representing Southern, East and West Africa. They include Executive Chairperson of the Higher Life Foundation Tsitsi Masiyiwa ofZimbabwe; Hylton Appelbaum , managing director of the Donald Gordon Foundation of South Africa; Kenyan Manu Chandaria, founder of the Chandaria Foundation; Kenyan James Mwangi, CEO and Manager Director of the Equity Bank and Chairman of the Equity Group Foundation; Benin-born singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill ambassador and founder of the Batonga Foundation; Nigerian  Toyin Saraki, Founder and President of the WellBeing Foundation Africa; and Nigerian Tony Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Also joining the core cadre is Reeta Roy , CEO of the MasterCard Foundation.

Among the financial supporters of APF are the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation, Kenya's Equity Group Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and others.

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