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The Southern Africa Trust Participates International Philanthropy Conference

The Southern Africa Trust, represented by Grants and Capability Manager Ms Lydia Moyo, joined the African Philanthropy Network and a wide-section of organisations working in the area of philanthropy and development at an international conference organised by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Association of German Foundations. The conference’s main aim was to bring together German Foundations and Philanthropy players in Africa to deliberate and come up with new models of working together by exploring opportunities, conditions and instruments for new forms of collaboration.

With changes in the civil society funding landscape and dwindling financial resources from international funding agencies, this was an opportunity for the African philanthropy community to engage German Foundations on issues including sustainability, alternative funding models and development.

The following challenges were highlighted:

  1. How best can German Foundations support African civic organisations that are aiming to transform inequality and injustice, so that they can concentrate on their mission in a local environment, that may be non-supportive, if not openly hostile to such organisations?
  2. How can German Foundations support social entrepreneurs in their ambitions to create sustainable development in Africa?

Further, there were some key lessons that came out of the session such as;

  1. African civic organisations are beginning to accept that western donors have stopped funding them or are in the process of withdrawing their funding and have started to look at new and local sources of funding. Civic organisations are coming up with very innovative sources of funding.
  2. There is acknowledgement that Africa can successfully mobilise local financial resources for civic work. The only question is how to get the wealthy to buy into civic organisations’ agenda. German Foundations were called upon to share knowledge and lessons in this area.
  3. Germany has many philanthropy foundations but they do not work together. A lot of the foundations do not know what the other is working on in Africa; this has led to over-funding and under-funding of some initiatives.

This meeting is one of the first important steps towards the implementation of the ‘Marshal Plan with Africa’ being led by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. The Marshall plan is an expression of the European Union’s (EU) decision to forge a new relationship with Africa. The relationship intends to end the “donor” and “recipient” era and seeks to engage in a partnership between equals using the African Union Agenda 2063 as a starting point.

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