Let’s reimagine philanthropy to break the economic barrier – Anatau Ben-Lawal

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Before the African Philanthropy Forum holds its regional meeting focused on intensifying humanitarian aid on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Nigeria CEO of Social Innovation Africa, Anatau Ben-Lawal is advocating for aid to be reimagined.

Nigeria is the home of the leading philanthropists on the continent. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and his countryman Mike Adenuga, who is the second most-richest have contributed to causes in education, arts, health and human relief. According to Forbes, Dangote donated 200 housing units to ‘Boko Haram victims – mostly women and children’, in June 2018. His Dangote Foundation is endowed with $1.25 billion.

Mr Adenuga is known to be more discrete in his philanthropic endeavours.

Anatau Ben-Lawal, CEO of Social Innovation Africa, advocates for aid – also called philanthropy – to be improved to become the ‘fourth sector’ in African nations.

She explained that philanthropy as a fourth sector will ‘look at different social enterprises and civil societies, with a sustainable lens where organizations are able to earn their own money and run their own operations.”

She was speaking on a global radio and podcast series called ‘The Spin’ hosted by an international award winning journalist, Esther Armah. Her interview called reimagining PHILANTHROPY, was part of a series dubbed #reImaginingAfrica. It focused on women transforming their respective sectors. Ben-Lawal’s focus was philanthropy.

She said: ‘Let’s take the philanthropy we have, come together with high net individuals, and government- bring in bigger funds that are able to sustain national development using private sector modules’.

The June 25th African Philanthropy Forum meeting, will be themed ‘Amplifying Humanitarian Aid in Nigeria’.

The Forum seeks to foster shared prosperity on the African continent through their strategic giving, investments and influence. This event will bring together philanthropists, social innovators, the private sector and policy makers in an effort to intensify partnerships for greater impact in the humanitarian aid landscape in Nigeria.

The first event was held in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire on Sunday, 7 April 2019, themed ‘African Youth and Migration: Philanthropists Taking the Lead’

Although big corporations, global foundations, and multinational institutions in Western countries are leading the way in the philanthropic sector in Africa, high net worth Individuals on the continent have upped their game recently.

According to Alliance Magazine, philanthropy by African citizens comes from wealthy Africans. After high net worth individuals are local foundations and community groups.

Other notable philanthropists and foundations in Africa are Nicky Oppenheimer and Brenthurst Foundation in South Africa, Patrice Motsepe and Motsepe Foundation in South Africa. Mohammed Dewji and Mo Dewji Foundation in Tanzania. In Zimbabwe there is Strive Masiyiwa and Higher Life Foundation.

Some high net worth African women are also giving back to their societies. Olajumoke Adenowo and Awesome Treasures Foundation in Nigeria, Ndidi Nwuneli and LEAP Africa in Nigeria, and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, who is the Executive Chairperson of Higher Life Foundation.

African economies are projected to grow at an overall rate of 3.8%, on par with the global forecast of 3.7%.

A report from Oxfam, a UK-based charity, published in May 2017 indicated that in Nigeria “the scale of inequality has reached extreme levels,” The net worth of five wealthiest Nigerians had a combined wealth of $29.9 billion in 2017. The figure was more than the country’s entire 2017 budget. About 60% of Nigerians live on less than $1.25 a day, the threshold for absolute poverty.

But the few high net worth individuals on the continent are the ones experiencing the real growth because of the high economic inequality in Africa.

The visionary Ben-lawal says, she is expecting a pan African spirit that makes us believe in ourselves and appreciate our efforts so far. This she says will help us “look for ways to break this last barrier which is the economic barrier”.

Source: Kofi Boateng

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