The Role of African Philanthropy in Responding to Covid-19

A new report from Dalberg Advisors and the African Philanthropy Forum sheds light on how philanthropy in Africa is changing in response to Covid-19 and what steps are needed to drive a more effective response. 

Philanthropists focused on Africa have stepped up their support for the people and communities most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the continent. The impact of Covid-19 in Africa so far has been severe: millions of Africans who were economically vulnerable before the crisis have lost their jobs and livelihoods, and overburdened health systems are now in greater distress, among other impacts.

In response, according to “The Role of African Philanthropy in Responding to Covid-19”, a new survey developed by Dalberg in partnership with the African Philanthropy Forum, 71% of philanthropists who are focused on the continent have either increased their giving as a share of endowments or are considering doing so in response to Covid-19. Their areas of focus include healthcare (supporting issues where governments have more limited capacity such as more widespread distribution of personal protective equipment and testing), the economic crisis, and food security.

The initial surge of support from philanthropists has tapered off but an important question remains – how will the Covid-19 crisis affect philanthropy in Africa in the long term?

Dalberg, in partnership with the Africa Philanthropy Forum, posed this question to 80+ philanthropic leaders via their African Philanthropy survey, interviews, and a major webinar. The work included deep-dive interviews with leaders from the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Equity Group Foundation, the African Philanthropy Forum, the Ish Tolaram Foundation, the Graca Machel Trust, and the Yaradua Foundation, and others.

Based on Dalberg’s findings and analysis of where the greatest needs exist a shift to “dynamic localism” is proposed—more specifically, five systemic shifts in how philanthropy as a whole will need to evolve over the next year and beyond in Africa. These shifts include:

  1. A shift in the locus of power – from institutions to beneficiaries
  2. Moving towards digital-first planning and programming
  3. Embedding resilience throughout
  4. Strategic flexibility as a core capability
  5. A end to ‘transactional’ partners

The full report provides more details on these findings. Dalberg’s partner for this work is the African Philanthropy Forum, a vibrant community of partners who through their strategic giving, investments, and influence, foster shared prosperity on the African continent. View the full report here.

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