YES. The philanthropy sector in Africa is still at an early stage in its evolution. However, there are notable exceptions. One of the strongest collaborations for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Africa is the Dangote Foundation in Nigeria. It is one of the few involved in structured philanthropy, and Alhaji Aliko Dangote's and Bill Gates' views are aligned on a number of issues. Dangote has worked very closely with us in ensuring that polio is eradicated from Nigeria and if this remarkable progress is sustained Nigeria will be on its way to being declared polio-free. It is a significant milestone in our efforts to eradicate the disease [worldwide], and the Dangote Foundation has played an intrinsic role in this. Our relationship has also extended to strengthening routine immunisation in states where childhood immunisation coverage is very low. More recently, we have been exploring ways to deal with malnutrition in northern Nigeria. The [Gates] Foundation wants to broaden its partnerships in Africa and that includes working with more African-based foundations through whom we can unlock domestic resources to help lift more people out of poverty. Dr. Ayo Ajayi, Africa team director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
YES. Africa's children have been giving back to the continent for generations but not in the way you and I acknowledge giving. Little is known about billionaires like Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian businessman who is making a difference through the Mohammed Dewji Foundation. Recognised as Africa's 38th richest man, Mohammed is using his privileged US educational background to not only grow his family's business but also lend his philanthropic voice to Tanzanian Politics by becoming one of Tanzania's youngest Members of Parliament. Today his Foundation gives grants to sports initiatives, a cause close to his heart and is exploring partnerships with various non-profits to expand the Foundation's impact. Several other High Net Worth Individuals continue, time and again, to live up to the often-stated generosity that resides on the African continent – without seeking explicit recognition. Instead they seek to make a tangible difference for their societies. Even less is known about technology related fundraising concepts like "Crowdfunding", led by young people, is becoming an increasingly popular source of growing capital on the continent. M-Changa's Kenya mobile money crowdfunding platform and South Africa's Thundafund are indigenous examples that are now competing with global outfits like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise money from the public for projects. So why are these dynamic approaches not visible? Knowledge sharing platforms such as the African Grantmakers Network provide an opportunity for isolated initiatives to collaborate with the Continental philanthropy dialogue and broaden the reach and results of their impact. Engaging in policy debates such as institutionalisation of tax legislation to create an enabling environment that encourages giving amongst the wealthy is just one of the ways High Net Worth Individuals like Mohammed can use their political voice and stature to change the African narrative of giving. Ezra Mbogori, Vice Chairperson of the AGN board & Executive Director of Akiba Uhaki Foundation, Kenya
NO. It is good news that people in this continent are establishing businesses, launching technologies, and running multinational corporations. But Africa's wealthiest are not doing enough. The global inequality crisis has taken root in Africa, as it has done across the world. The World Bank recently found that the 10 richest Africans own the same as the poorest half of the continent – that's over half a billion people. The 'Africa Rising' narrative begs the question: Rising for who? Wealth creators in Africa must work with governments to build economies that provide decent jobs for young people. Job creation will be the challenge as we see increasing foreign investment into African economies and manage wealth coming from natural resources. But they must also reward hard work with decent pay. In South Africa, a platinum miner would need to work for 93 years just to earn the average CEO's annual bonus. The wealthy must also take responsibility for investing in fair and cohesive societies. Too often their access to global markets and financial systems is used to avoid paying a fair share of tax. And finally we need to break the corrosive circular relationship between wealth and power that undermines our politics. It is wrong that in Africa so many leaders use their government positions to amass great personal wealth, and in turn that the wealthy have such undue influence on governments across the continent.Winnie Byanyima, Executive director, Oxfam International
NO. Notwithstanding the sacrifices made by wealthy African men and women, I would answer no. Indeed the continent is rising, but we are just at the beginning of a new era in which Africans are slowly but surely taking charge of their destiny; an era in which the private sector is playing a timid but reassuring role in global policies formulations. A lot remains to be done both in advocacy and philanthropy. With regards to advocacy, prominent Africans are now lending their voices to independently defend African positions in global fora, and helping to ensure we regain ownership of our economies. There are only a few countries where indigenous companies are in the driver's seat of their economy, such as Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. In most countries however, organised trade groups are still dominated by foreign companies especially in francophone countries. As for philanthropy, Africans generally play a big role in their communities. As the saying goes, "every poor African has a rich uncle". However, this sense of social responsibility could be more efficient if Africans spend less money on burial ceremonies and instead dedicate more resources to building community hospitals, develop infrastructures, modernise and structure social activities and, most importantly, empower aspiring Africans to become the leaders of tomorrow. Of course, for Africa's wealthiest to be even more involved, it is crucial that African governments liberalise their economies, set the stage for private sector companies to be more successful, rather than setting up roadblocks as is often the case. One of their biggest contribution to the future of the continent is their sustainable success, and this is the challenge of our generation.Angelle Kwemo, Founder & Chair, Believe in Africa
The Believe in Africa Day Awards Gala Dinner was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Roland Martin of TV One, and entertainment was provided by Kaissa Doumbe and Lokua Kanza.
Believe in Africa honored prominent personalities in both the U.S. and African public and private sectors for their leadership in promoting Africa’s economic growth. The awards were presented by the President of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina.
Former Senator Robert Dole, received the 2014 Believe in Africa Visionary Award for his leadership in addressing food security in Africa.
Recipients of the 2014 Believe in Africa Leadership Award were Members of Congress who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the future of Africa. They included:
- Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) for addressing the concerns of the African private sector and the African Diaspora;
- Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) for his work addressing the concerns of African children;
- Congresswoman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) for his leadership on Africa trade and diaspora issues;
- Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) for his leadership in promoting U.S. investments in Africa;
- Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) for being a strong advocate for greater U.S. – Africa mutually beneficial partnerships in energy development;
- Two business executives received the 2014 Believe in Africa Business Titan Awards, a symbol of partnership between both the U.S. and Africa private sector and the importance of Africapitalism’s philosophy that needs to be implemented to sustain Africa’s economic future: Jay Ireland, CEO, GE Africa and Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holding, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Africapitalism Institute.
- M. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank received the “Believe in Africa Lifetime Achievement Award” for his leadership building Africa’s infrastructure.
- Two sponsors Awards were given to Lucien Ebata, Chairman Orion and Forbes Afrique Pierre Goudiabi, ATEPA
We give our special gratitude to our sponsors, partners and supporters, our team and friends:
The Government of Cameroon, the African Union Commission, the Governor of Maryland, The Mayor of Washington DC, Africa 24TV, Forbes Afrique, The New York Forum on Africa, Richard Attias and Associates, Orion Oil, the Atepa Group, Etnium International, Rimsom Strategies, Africa 2.0, Financia Capital, Gumbi, Dechambenoit & Associates, Global Humanitarian Photojournalists, Rindi Media, Groupe Jeune Afrique, and Active Media.
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Ms. Maureen Umeh, a Washington, DC Fox 5 TV News anchor, guided the high-level dialogue in an off-the-record, frank and straight talk interactive format environment.
High-level government officials, experts and business executives from both the U.S. and Africa participated as panelists throughout the day and included Ms. Lisa Bonnikson, Sub-Saharan Africa Region Manager; Kola Karim, Shoreline Energy International; Lucien Ebata, Chairman ORION OIL and FORBES AFRIQUE; Philippe Heilberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO at Jarch Capital, LLC; Dale Lefebvre, Chairman, 35711; Jacqueline Sultan, Minister of Agriculture of Guinéa, Mark von Pentz, President, Agriculture & Turf Division- Europe, Asia, Africa for John Deere; Richard Markwell, Vice-President and Managing Director for Europe, Africa and Middle East, Massey Ferguson; Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School, Director of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project funded by the Gates Foundation and Director of the Harvard Globalization project; Johan Steyn, Managing Director-Middle East & Africa, Cargill; Acha Leke, Director of McKinsey; Paolo Gomes, President, Constellor; Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, Chairman of SkyeBank; Dr. Rose Mutiso, Energy and Innovation Policy Fellow, Office of Senator Chris Coons (D-DE); Laura Taylor Kale, Senior Advisor to the president, U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Republic of Cameroon; Essimi Menye, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Republic of Cameroon; Basile Atangana Kouna, Minister of Water and Energy, Republic of Cameroon; Emmanuel Bonde, Minister of Mines, Industry and Technology Development, Republic of Cameroon; Laurent Serge Etoundi Ngoa, Minister of Small and Medium Size Enterprise, Social Economy and Handicraft, Republic of Cameroon; Daniel Abate, President of Employers Organization (MECAM) and Mr. Mathieu Mandeng, General Manager, Standard Chartered Bank, President of APECCAM.
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