African Philanthropy: The New Culture Of African Aid


Owing to the fact that the western world seems to be gambling with  Africa’s economic insecurities, Africa is concerned with a better and proper way of solving the poverty epidemic in the continent. The presence of reputable NGOs and other volunteer groups have increased the giving culture in African countries like Nigeria. These days you can actually count on support groups to help you generate funds for delicate situations which are usually health inclined. In the past there were institutions like this but they however turned out to be the successful businesses of one or two con artists. The system is not completely rid of such people but there are more reputable groups who are truly dedicated to the welfare of under-privileged co-citizens. More than ever we need to take care of our own by ourselves; be our own benefactors; just become independent on a larger scale. Africa hopes for the kind of philanthropy that will be a unified translation of individual efforts for the sole good of the continent.

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We seem to be getting the individualism concept all wrong, if you make it to whatever heights, it’s because of your community whether you know it or not and it is only fair that you reciprocate that gift of humanity by making mankind better. Individualism is not showing off that you can get there after all neither should individualism go against the communal concept of sharing; they work hand in hand. Your individual effort  and success is a sign that you have become part of the bright side of a community, this in turn does nothing short of building up the community and also inspiring the idea of greatness in the younger generation. The African community has always been about watching each others back and working in close-knit to the success of the society. Individualism is expected to reinforce the community as a whole.


The giving culture is a virtue that needs to be sensitized and ignited as part and parcel of any human being with a heart. No matter how much aid comes from the international community, if we do not do something on our own, the system is always going to suffer for it. Africa will be the most selfish and drawn back society if we do not even attempt to improve our situation. If no effort comes from within, then we are brewing a generation of spineless and selfish people who will continually be at the mercy of other nations.

Going with the idea of aiding motherland is a sure way of saying that we are super ready to judiciously use our resources and make the best out of it. A sign post I came across a while ago, says “seek not thyself outside thyself”, if we don’t start working from what we have within, then we might as well be wasting our time. Africans should unmistakably be at the fore front of the course of aiding and developing Africa, else, no one will do it. There’s always something to do for Africa; there’s always something to give. The mystery of giving is that right in the midst of nothing, there is always something to give – your loyalty by being law-abiding citizens, sponsoring one child in education, being part of your local community development, upholding pro-active activities, giving financial or other immaterial resources to those who desperately need it. Giving is an obligatory essence of having. Civilization for me is the stem idea of giving back to the community that has given you identity by improving it to be better than it used to be. If we think Africa is a civilized society, then giving back should be our motto.


I believe change should first of all start from the transformation in the perception of the African man. If there’s no change in the selfish mentality of the corrupt African politician, he will never understand that even if other non-African colleagues can afford to loot from their treasury, Africa, most essentially does not need that kind of embarrassment. There is so much to do, and if they(wanton politicians and leaders) really knew it, then things would have been better a long time ago. Anyone who takes up the leadership chair feels it’s finally his time to enjoy all that there is to be enjoyed and lots more. Today motherland calls on billionaires, celebrities, and all Africans to prioritize the general good of the continent. That $12 million dollar wrist watch is not more important than the health and education of at least one African child. In the last one year, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote has exemplary donated a total of $35 million to charity.

Tony Elumelu

It is in line with this point of view that the African Philanthropy Forum (AFP) was formed as an affiliate of the Global Philanthropy Forum, by a group of African Philanthropist and patriots including the international music sensation, Angelique Kidjo and Tony Elumelu, who blatantly insists that only Africans can develop Africa. He is a strong believer in the rebirth of the African economy. Tony and his philanthropic peers have come together to pave a way for the developmental course of the continent

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On a humbler but not the least scale, Solome Lemma, the co-founder and executive director of Africans In the Diaspora (AiD) has created a space and means for Africans in diaspora to contribute their quota to motherland. This revolutionary organization is concerned with the way aid (of whatever form) is generated for Africa by Africans irrespective of distance. From this organization, Africans in diaspora become a part of the African predicament and more importantly contribute solutions to the problems. Solome’s aid oriented organization encourages philanthropy by Africans abroad, having for an end, the feasible remedy and growth in the African economic and social change. To prove the validity of this vision, Forbes records that Africans in diaspora remits $52 billion on annual basis, which is more than the routine foreign aid. Charles Lwanga Ntale, director for Africa for Development Initiatives also makes it clear that often times a huge amount of the aid money never actually leaves the donor countries. So who is fooling who? We are better of our own donors and philanthropists.

On his own, Jordan Levy came up with the Ubuntu concept of educating children in poor communities. ‘Ubuntu’ is an ancient South African word meaning ‘humanity to others’, or ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. He took up that challenge and course of the Ubuntu Education Fund in Port Elizabeth, even without being a billionaire. This altruistic act gives flesh to the words of Solome Lemma,

“There may not be 1,000 Mo Ibrahims and Aliko Dangotes, but there are, hundreds of thousands of people whose small investments can aggregate up to large amounts of capital that can meet development needs from education to health, leadership to infrastructure. It all starts with one simple act…”