Recent growth in Africa has raised GDP in many countries at enviable rates. It has facilitated access to finance and communications and has enabled people to leapfrog and leverage the benefits made available by the internet and mobile technology. According to a recent report released by the African Development Bank, this growth in Africa has been fueled by a limited range of commodities and the extractive industries and has not produced sufficient employment opportunities to enable the benefits of growth to be shared more broadly. Manufacturing is in decline, youth unemployment is staggering while Africa’s youth bulge continues to grow. Africa’s infrastructure — its roads, electrical grids, access to water and high speed internet — is in need of investment to support further growth and the creation of more jobs. Poverty, unemployment and inequality persist in many countries. To turn the momentum of Africa’s growth into long term development that is broad based and inclusive, Africa’s growth must rely on investments that protect and develop its richest assets — its talent and human capital — for only then, can the trajectory of recent growth be passed on to the next generation.

The 2015 APF Conference looked at some of the key levers that can protect and build the capacity of Africa’s human capital and talent — investments in better health systems to improve health indicators and ward off the threat of epidemics; investments in STEM and centers of excellence to nurture the innovators of tomorrow; investments in a skilled workforce that can address Africa’s infrastructure needs; transformative approaches that increase the inclusion of women leaders across sectors; and investments in entrepreneurship to unleash the creativity of those who will be providing the jobs of tomorrow. And while philanthropy alone cannot address the challenges that each of these represents, it has a special role to play — as a partner with government, the business sector and public institutions; as a risk taker and an enabler giving birth to new ideas, new possibilities and new collaborations across sectors.

The African Philanthropy Forum (APF) seeks to build and continuously expand a learning community of Africa’s strategic philanthropists and social investors committed to inclusive and sustainable economic development throughout the continent; to embed that community in a larger, global network of strategic philanthropists and development experts who share their goals; and, through educational programs and match-making services, to inform, enable, and enhance the development impact of their giving and investing. The APF is an affiliate of the Global Philanthropy Forum.


  • Build a learning community of African philanthropists and social investors
  • Embed this community in the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF), a strategic network of philanthropists and development experts
  • Enhance the impact of this network’s giving and investing through educational programs and matchmaking

Key Activities

  • One-on-one outreach to current and emerging African philanthropists to introduce them to the APF and the GPF
  • The convening of an invitation-only conference in Africa every 12-18 months to bring together current and emerging African philanthropists, grantmakers and social investors
  • Regional outreach events throughout the year for current and prospective members
  • Invitations to the annual Global Philanthropy Forum Conference held in the US
  • Matchmaking services among donors and grantmakers

APF enables members to

  • Foster the growth of strategic philanthropy on the continent
  • Learn about philanthropic investment opportunities and tested strategies from peers and leaders in the field of development and social investment on the continent and elsewhere
  • Gain visibility for their philanthropic strategies and impact
  • Serve as role models and inspiration to emerging philanthropists
  • Meet, collaborate and partner with other donors and social investors on the continent and across the world through the APF and GPF conferences
  • Meet emblematic social sector leaders with on the ground experience whom they can fund
  • Guide the development and direction of the APF as a peer-led organization

Participation in the APF is

  • By invitation only
  • Open to emerging and established African donors and social investors who have made, or plan to make, a significant commitment to philanthropy
  • Intended to be Pan-African


  • APF is affiliated with the Global Philanthropy Forum, a global community of donors and social investors committed to international causes
  • APF is guided by a small core cadre of African philanthropists with support from an Africa-based Director and the Global Philanthropy Forum
  • The first APF conference took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 24-25, 2014. The 2015 APF Conference took place on October 26-27 in Kigali, Rwanda. The 2016 APF Conference will take place in Rabat, Morocco.