Call for Abstracts: 3rd African Philanthropy Academic Conference – CLOSED
February 22, 2024
Important Dates & Information
  • Abstract Submission – Friday, 24 May 2024
  • Conference Registration Deadline – Friday, 28 June 2024
  • Notification of Acceptance – Friday, 31 May 2024
  • Venue: Elephant Hills, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Dates: Monday, 29 July to Friday, 2 August 2024

The 5th African Philanthropy Conference (5APC or 5th APC) is set to take place under the timely and forward-looking theme “The New Frontiers for (and in) African Philanthropy” in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. This edition of the conference marks a critical point in the exploration of the evolving philanthropic landscape in Africa. 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. Encompassing a wide array of topics, from the role of digital technologies and community-centric approaches to climate science and innovative financing models, the conference aims to map out the new terrains of African philanthropy.

As is with the previous annual conferences, the 5th APC will start with an academic dimension running from Monday 29th July to Tuesday 30th July 2024. This call is therefore targeting academics, researchers, policy makers and practitioners who want to share their research with a wider network of scholars and researchers. The academic sessions will feed into the practitioner dimension of the conference which will take place from Wednesday 31st July to Friday 2nd August 2024.


The African Philanthropy Conference series is a pivotal platform for discourse and the development of philanthropy ecosystems in the continent. It all commenced in 2019 with the inaugural conference in Johannesburg, South Africa under the theme “The State of Philanthropy in Africa.” This first edition set a foundational tone, established a space for diverse stakeholders to converge and discuss the nuances of African philanthropy. The second conference, that responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, was hosted virtually in 2021. Themed “The Role of African Philanthropy in Surviving COVID-19” the conference underscored the resilience and adaptability readiness 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.

In its third iteration, the conference focused on the systemic changes required in the new normal, especially concerning the institutions, policies, and practices in philanthropy in the continent. The conference emphasised how African philanthropy was navigating post-pandemic challenges, with a keen focus on climate change, youth engagement, and the integration of technology in philanthropic practices. The fourth edition took place in 2023 under the theme “African Philanthropy at an Inflection Point,’ in Dakar, Senegal and 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.


About the academic conference

Coming from this rich background, the academic component of the 5th APC will focus on presenting the latest research and academic perspectives that shed light on these new frontiers and offer a platform for scholars to share their findings on how African philanthropy is adapting to and influencing these changes. Concurrently, the practitioner dimension of conference will translate the insights into practical strategies, with practitioners discussing how these theories are being applied on the ground. Therefore, the theme reflects a forward-looking perspective, acknowledging the dynamic changes reshaping the African philanthropic landscape.

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.


 Thematic Areas

Below are the themes that the academic dimension of the conference is seeking submissions for; details of each theme can be found further in this call:

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Submission information

Abstracts are to be submitted on the official conference website.

Submission requirements
  • – Applicants should submit an abstract of 250 words in a Word document format
  • – We welcome abstracts in English and other African languages
  • – Submitted abstracts must contain the following
    • 1) Full title
    • 2) Names of all the authors
    • 3) Affiliations of each author
    • 4) Research problem, literature review, theoretical framing, methodology, summary of findings and conclusions
    • 5) 3 – 6 keywords of the paper
    • 6) Acknowledgements or disclosure notices (if any)
  • – A maximum of two submissions will be considered per author
  • – Only the abstracts will be published in the conference proceedings

The conference will consider supporting at least ten researchers whose full papers will be well-written and ready for publication before the conference. Conference participants are expected to cover their attendance at the conference.

Enquiries contact

Enquiries should be directed to the Conference Coordinator

Wycliffe Nduga Ouma –

More information on the Conference themes

a) Technology and innovations in African philanthropy

Technology and innovation in philanthropy, especially when considering digital technologies, signify a transformative shift in the African philanthropic landscape. The digital revolution in Africa transcends the mere adoption of new technologies; it encapsulates a fundamental change in the way philanthropic organisations engage with beneficiaries, donors, and the wider ecosystem. It is now clear to many stakeholders that technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data go beyond being trendy terms as they are increasingly becoming essential tools capable of boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of philanthropic endeavours in the continent and beyond.

b) Three-sector partnerships (PPP)

Another critical component under consideration is the focus on three-sector partnerships, which bring together government, private sector, and civil society, including local voices and agencies.  The three-sector partnership approach, involving philanthropy, the public sector, and the private sector, is particularly relevant when considering the evolving landscape of African philanthropy, as highlighted by the themes of the upcoming overall thematic focus of the conference. The theme focuses on “The New Frontiers for (and in) African Philanthropy and Social Investment”, emphasizing the dynamic nature of philanthropy on the continent.

c) Climate change, adaptation, mitigation, climate justice and green resourcing

Climate change has been a subject of protracted discourse in various circles, and African philanthropy, taking a cue from the recent COP28 in Dubai, forms an integral part of this theme. The focus on environmental resilience and sustainability extends beyond addressing immediate effects to fostering a long-term vision for environmental and economic stability on the continent. Insights from COP28 are instrumental, in setting the agenda for the conference to explore strategies that resonate with Africa’s unique context. This conference is poised not as an echo of global dialogues but as a forum for advancing a distinct, Africa-centric vision of environmental resilience and sustainability.

d) Impact investment and de-risking social investment

While this theme is closely connected to the foregoing thematic focus, there is a need to isolate it as a stand-alone theme and afford reasonable time and programmatic focus during the conference. The role of philanthropy in de-risking investments in key sectors like healthcare, education, and infrastructure continues to gain traction and research attention.

e) Gender equality, youth and diaspora in philanthropy

The role of gender equality and women empowerment in effective philanthropy in Africa is increasingly gaining the attention of stakeholders in the ecosystem. Research shows that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect on community development and economic growth.

f) Environmental stewardship, advocacy and economic empowerment of philanthropy in Africa

As has been highlighted in the foregoing, environmental stewardship and climate action are emerging as critical themes in African philanthropy. Initiatives focusing on environmental sustainability and resilience are vital for addressing the impacts of climate change and ensuring long-term sustainability on the continent. Philanthropic efforts in this area range from supporting conservation projects to investing in renewable energy solutions, all aimed at preserving the environment while promoting sustainable development.

g) Feminist philanthropies / Women in African philanthropy

The ongoing discussions underscore the significance of gender equality, youth engagement, and diaspora participation in African philanthropy. Gender equality and women empowerment require sustained emphasis in deliberations. The emphasis on empowering women stems from the widely recognised benefits that communities, especially in Africa, gain from the development and economic progress facilitated by women.

h) Philanthropy and reparations

Reparations are actions aimed at compensating individuals or communities who have experienced historical injustices, human rights abuses, or systematic oppression. Philanthropic organisations, dedicated to advancing human welfare, should focus on facilitating reparations in Africa. This approach involves leveraging a human rights framework to ensure justice for affected populations. It encompasses a range of measures, including those of a legal nature, to align with the principles of international law and address the consequences of past wrongs.

i) Philanthropy and global shifts

In the modern era, a plethora of challenges arise daily, necessitating prompt responses. These challenges encompass health and human welfare, economic stability, and environmental sustainability. Governments, tasked primarily with safeguarding citizens and ensuring peace, service delivery, and health standards, cannot single-handedly address these issues without external support. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the critical role of philanthropy in tackling social challenges when government capacities are exceeded.

j) Philanthropy and just peacebuilding

The role of philanthropic organisations in peacebuilding is not well studied, largely due to the secretive and private nature of their activities. Effective peacebuilding involves understanding the historical underpinnings, being aware of power dynamics within societies, and recognising the triggers and contexts of conflicts. It necessitates a thorough analysis of the situation, the adoption of comprehensive strategies, and the use of conflict resolution methods.