Philanthropy's strategic partnerships can end Africa aid dependence - First Lady

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has called for more strategic partnerships between governments, corporations, organisations, and individual philanthropists, to help break the never-ending cycle of dependency on the African continent.
The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, speaks at the Africa Philanthropist Forum that ended in Kigali yesterday. (Courtesy)
The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, speaks at the Africa Philanthropist Forum that ended in Kigali yesterday. (Courtesy)

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has called for more strategic partnerships between governments, corporations, organisations, and individual philanthropists, to help break the never-ending cycle of dependency on the African continent.

While speaking at the Africa Philanthropist Forum that ended in Kigali yesterday, Mrs Kagame urged that more conversations and networking have a tremendous potential, to create the bridges needed to impact more effectively the lives of the less privileged.

“It is also very important, that we continue to engage recipients, to ensure they have the ability to articulate their needs, as we have to be conscious of the ever-changing dynamics on ground, when adapting our philanthropic interventions.

“Thus, we must think creatively for ways to improve our approach to philanthropic work, while always acknowledging the wealth of our cultural wisdom, and its ability to deliver the right solutions, to the challenges our continent faces,” the First Lady said.

The two-day conference, dubbed the “Africa Philanthropy Forum” (APF) that opened in Kigali on Monday, was held under the theme, “The Promise to the Next Generation.”

It brought together over 50 high-ranking personalities representing global philanthropy organisations, governments, the business sector and public institutions.

Rwanda was chosen to host this year’s forum for her continued search for human development, according to the organisers.

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APF Panel on ‘The Future We Make: Africa’s Next Generation of Social Actors', from left to right; Uzodinma Iweala (moderator), Editor in Chief of Ventures Africa; Patrick Ngowi, Chairperson of Light for Life Foundation and Founder of Helvetic Group; Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa, advisor of talent development and long-term engagement at Higherlife Foundation; and Sangu Delle, chairperson and chief executive of GoldenPalm Investments. (Courtesy)

Mrs Kagame noted that for Rwanda to host the high level forum affords the country and the continent an opportunity to reflect upon and address a topic that is personal and relevant in the present world.

The First Lady said after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than one million people, Rwanda rebuilt itself to the present status through the resilience of human nature and the philanthropic heart.

“The Rwanda you see today has its foundation in the philanthropic acts of countless sons and daughters of this land, and of so many others, who chose to become our friends. We have seen the great power of philanthropy,” Mrs Kagame said.

This system, which is built on our shared humanity, has managed to stitch our social fabric together, when other avenues supposed to bring relief, sometimes failed to deliver on their promises,” Mrs Kagame added.

Jane Wales, the chief executive of the Global Philanthropy Forum, speaking in a press briefing said that philanthropists, specifically those based in Africa, would go back home challenged to be part of the process to transform their continent.

“All of us, will go back to our respective countries with the hunger of giving. Especially to spur the next generation of Africa that is less dependent but rather full of hope,” Wales noted.

Among high profile participants at the conference, was the Queen of Buganda, Sylvia Nagginda, who supported the idea of partnerships between government and legitimate traditional institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“This is because traditional leaders have the ability to rally people and get commitment to causes both easily and cheaper,” said Nagginda, whose kingdom is Uganda’s biggest cultural institution.

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