2024 Edition Concept Note


The 5th Annual African Philanthropy Conference (5th APC) is set to be hosted at the Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Livingstone, Zambia from Monday 29 July to Friday 2 August 2024. Under the theme “The Next Frontiers of African Philanthropy”, this edition of the conference marks a critical point in the exploration of the evolving philanthropic landscape on the continent. It represents a collective response to the dynamic and significant changes reshaping African philanthropy, focusing on in-depth examinations of emerging trends, innovative strategies, and their potential impacts on traditional philanthropic models.

It is undeniable that these changes represent a seismic shift in how philanthropy is perceived, practiced, and leveraged for social impact on the continent. The conference, therefore, stands as a pivotal forum for exploring these emergent trends, where the traditional meets the innovative, and old models are re-evaluated in the light of new strategies and approaches.

The 5th APC will build on the outcomes of the East Africa Philanthropy Network conference and other global gatherings such as Philea Forum, while also contributing towards discussions to be held by consortium members later in the year – such as the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) Conference in October and the Africa Philanthropy Network (APN) Assembly in November that will also take place in Victoria Falls. The 5th APC edition is hosted by the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) and TrustAfrica in collaboration with The Africa Philanthropy Forum, Africa the Philanthropy Network, the East Africa Philanthropy Network (EAPN) and Southern Africa Trust.



The African Philanthropy Conference was conceptualised in 2017 by Tsitsi Masiyiwa, who identified the need for a platform that would serve as a pan African space to collectively promote African philanthropy and set agendas for future interventions individually and collectively. At the time, Mrs Masiyiwa was the Board Chair of the African Philanthropy Forum, and shared this critical concept with Prof. Emmanuel Akyeampong along with a request to consider ways that it can be developed and made a reality. Then a Director of the Center for African Studies at Harvard University, Prof. Akyeampong turned to Bhekinkosi Moyo who was then CEO of the Southern Africa Trust, and later Director of CAPSI (which is located at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Business School). Given that TrustAfrica had been at the forefront of promoting philanthropy in the continent, Ebrima Sall as its Executive Director was invited to the conversation.

In 2018, CAPSI, The Harvard Center for African Studies, TrustAfrica and Southern Africa Trust began curating the first conference, collaborating with other leading voices in the sector such as APF, APN and EAPN. Mrs Masiyiwa’s HigherLife Foundation joined the consortium, and the platform was created to serve as a pan African space to collectively promote African philanthropy and set agendas for future interventions individually and collectively.

The African Philanthropy Conference is not a replacement of what each institution does individually but rather offers a space for collective reflections, setting of agendas and sharing of best practice with a wider community that is drawn from the consortium’s constituencies and beyond.


The first edition was hosted in 2019 at Wits Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa, under the theme “The State of Philanthropy in Africa: Setting the Agenda”. This edition set the foundational, establishing a space for diverse stakeholders to converge and discuss the nuances of African philanthropy. The keynote address was delivered by Frank Kilbourn as Executive Chairperson: Strauss & Co with opening remarks given by Tsitsi Masiyiwa of HigherLife Foundation and Prof. Emmanuel Akyeampong of Harvard University’s Center for African Studies and other partners.`

The second edition adapted to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was hosted virtually in 2021. Themed “The Role of African Philanthropy in Surviving COVID-19” it underscored the resilience and adaptability of the sector in the face of global crises. This conference brought to light the critical role philanthropy played in addressing the immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic on the continent. The keynote speakers included Tsitsi Masiyiwa, the Founder of the HigherLife Foundation, Everjoice Win, then Executive Director of the Shine Project and Dr John Nkengasong, then Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The inaugural Lifetime Achievement Awards were hosted virtually, and honoured to Human Rights and Peace Advocate, Akwasi Aidoo whose stellar 30-year career in philanthropy was celebrated.

In its third iteration, the conference was hosted as a hybrid event under the theme “Systems Change and The New Normal in African Philanthropy: Trends, Practices and Policies”; this centred on how African philanthropy is navigating beyond the COVID-19 pandemic by specifically focusing on climate change, youth and technology concerning institutions, policies, and practices in philanthropy in the continent. The conference emphasised how African philanthropy navigates post-pandemic challenges, with a keen focus on climate change, youth engagement, and the integration of technology in philanthropic practices. The keynote addresses were delivered by Masego Madzwamuse, Programme Director at Oak Foundation, Daniel Kibani, Founder of DNK Consultancy and Ndidi Nwuneli, Board Member at the Africa Philanthropy Forum. The second Lifetime Achievement Award honoured Elder and Humanitarian H.E. Graça Machel, whose lifetime of work continues to raise advocacy for the rights of women and children across the world. The inaugural academic conference was hosted, with keynote address from Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala, the Director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Witwatersrand.

The fourth edition of the conference was held in 2023 under the theme “African Philanthropy at an Inflection Point” through which it explored the dimensions of People, Power, Policy, and Practices. The conference provided a forum for exchanging knowledge about various models and approaches to African philanthropy, defining the sector’s narratives and roles across different domains, and developing strategies for the collective and sustainable development of the philanthropic and social investment sector on the continent. The keynote addresses were delivered by Mamadou Biteye, Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Gerry Salole of CAPSI, who was also honoured with the 3rd Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his commitment to social justice and human rights. The second academic conference saw the presentation of informative academic papers followed by insightful peer engagement, with the keynote address delivered by Prof. Mame Samba Mbaye, Deputy-Vice Chancellor of the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar. The conference enjoyed performances from celebrated artists Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour and Berita


The theme for the 5th APC is “The Next Frontiers of African Philanthropy”, and marks a critical point in the exploration of the evolving philanthropic landscape on the continent. It represents a collective response to the dynamic and significant changes that are reshaping African philanthropy, and enables delegates to participate in in-depth examinations of emerging trends, innovative strategies, and their potential impacts on traditional philanthropic models.

Encompassing a wide array of topics, from the role of digital technologies and community-centric approaches to climate science and innovative financing models, the 5th APC aims to map out the new terrains of African philanthropy. Therefore, the theme reflects a forward-looking perspective, acknowledging the dynamic changes reshaping the African philanthropic landscape.


The following subthemes will guide the programme and dialogues of the conference:


  1. Philanthropy and Reparations: In this subtheme, we will explore how philanthropy can support cultural preservation and address colonial injustice through restitution and reparations, as well as explore the issue of reparations within philanthropy.
  2. Philanthropy and Technology: AI and Robotics, Policy and Regulation: This subtheme will zero in on the integration of advanced technologies and related regulatory frameworks. Given the fast-paced growth of AI and related technologies, there is a growing need to formulate safeguarding regulations and policies. 5th APC can delve deep into this and bootstrap an angle for philanthropy.
  3. Philanthropy and De-Risking Social Investment through Three-sector Partnerships (PPP): In this subtheme, we will analyse how public-private partnerships can mitigate risks and leverage social investments for greater impact.
  4. Philanthropy and Issues of Democracy – Global Shift, Just Peacebuilding, Geopolitics: Examining the influence of philanthropy on democracy, its response to global political shifts, and contributions to peacebuilding and stability.
  5. Climate Justice, Climate Change, Just Transition and Green Resourcing: This subtheme will include a critical interrogation of philanthropy’s role in advancing climate justice. It will also include a focus on African positioning on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and resourcing.
  6. Feminist Philanthropy, Women in African Philanthropy: This subtheme seeks to reflect on and share lessons from philanthropic approaches that centre the priorities, perspectives, and agendas of women and gender-diverse populations – particularly those that have been historically marginalised – as critical to advancing a just society.
  7. Youth-led Philanthropy and Inclusive Strategies: Highlighting the contributions and influence of youth-led philanthropy, along with inclusive practices that engage diverse communities.
  8. Philanthropy in Health and Education: Linking philanthropic efforts to enhance health equity with support for educational advancement, aiming to build sustainable community resilience.
  9. Philanthropy and a Just Society – Supporting Social Movements and Peacebuilding: This session interrogates the role of philanthropy in supporting civic organising, social movements and local peacebuilding and explores the role of philanthropy in advancing peacebuilding within a highly fluid global landscape.
  10. Philanthropy, Governance and Strategic Partnerships: Discussing the importance of governance, transparency, and accountability in philanthropy, along with how strategic partnerships can scale impact and address complex challenges.



        The convening is curated into a programme that will guide engagements that delegates and participants will interact through.

        1. Academic Dimension

        Academics, researchers and pracademics are afforded a platform to share findings on how African philanthropy is adapting to and influencing recent development, and will present their latest research and academic perspectives that shed light on these new frontiers.

        1. Main Conference

        The practitioner dimension of the conference will translate the insights and experiences from stakeholders in the sector into practical strategies. Practitioners will engage through panel discussions, workshops and dialogues where they will collectively reflect and set the agenda on how these theories can be applied to benefit stakeholders across the sector. The main conference stands as a pivotal forum for exploring emergent trends where the traditional meets the innovative, and old models are re-evaluated in the light of new strategies and approaches.

        1. Lifetime Achievement Awards

        The African Philanthropy Lifetime Award recognises luminaries in the field while they are still alive. The Award is given to an individual who has contributed immensely to the growth, practice, trajectory and meaning of African philanthropy for the last twenty and plus years. The Award also recognises an individual who has contributed to mentoring leaders and practitioners in the philanthropy sector through various interventions and mechanisms. Importantly, the Award identifies an individual who has also contributed to knowledge building of the African philanthropy sector not necessarily in an academic understanding, but in other various non-academic ways.

        The 4th Lifetime Achievement Awards will be led by a committee comprising of representatives from the partners, inviting nominations from which a deserving awardee will be selected and awarded during a special gala dinner.

        1. Exhibition

        The exhibition is a space where attendees can interact with individuals and organisations who will prepare to connect the implementation of successful programmes that have benefited the sector. It will also welcome local community traders who will share products that are unique to the city of Victoria Falls and the nation of Zimbabwe. 

        1. Site Visits 

        The conference has welcomed an increasing diversity of delegates with each edition, and has been hosted in different cities in each year. The site visits to key point locations in the city are offered to delegates to learn more about the story of the host city and appreciate the natural resources and activities that it offers.


        One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Mosi-oa-Tunya, more popularly known as Victoria Falls, will provide the backdrop for the 5th edition of the African Philanthropy Conference. Since the mid 20th century, the city has been an increasingly important source of tourism to both Zambia and Zimbabwe with an array of natural resources, activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy.