ISTR Conference
Prof. Adam Habib

ISTR Conference 2017: participants explore ways to maximize philanthropy in Africa

Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), and researchers are exploring ways to maximize the philanthropy sector in Africa while calling on Africans to take charge to mobilize the needed resources for it’s own development needs.

At the 4th ISTRA Africa Regional Network Conference which commenced on June 21, 2017 and will end today, June 22, 2017, in Accra, researchers and participants are discussing philanthropy in Africa and finding avenues to actively engage governments and the private sector in driving the agenda forward.

“The concept philanthropy is not new to Africa,” Nana Asantewaa Afadzinu, the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), said citing a publication by Bheki Moyo on Philanthropy in Africa.

The said publication noted that philanthropy existed in the per-colonial Ashanti kingdom where philanthropists were motivated by the strong consideration for the dignity of all community members.

In his keynote address, Professor Adam Habib, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Witwatersrand explored the current status of Africa, from the Africa rising era between 1991 and 2007 to the great recession of Africa in 2008 to enable participants better understand the relationship between Africa and philanthropy

“Africa today is in a development crisis but this was not always the case,” he observed.

Africa’s conflicts reduced by two-thirds and even as late as 2010, 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world were from the continent. However, this was short-lived as the recession of 2008 descended, Professor Habib explained.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Dean of the University of Ghana Business School, Joshua Yinenaba Abor said philanthropy in Africa can help fund and expand access and promote equity that will lead to increased opportunities in the continent.

The conference according to WACSI is being organized in partnership with the University of Ghana Business School and ISTR for the exchange of research findings and practical experiences between academic researchers, civil society activists and development practitioners.

The conference will also include an inaugural PHD workshop targeted at doctoral students and civil society researchers.

The conference is under the theme,” Civil Society and Philanthropy in Africa: Contexts, Contradictions.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng