This report provides a comprehensive overview of philanthropy in Ghana, triggering thoughtful and timely discussions on the need for actionable policy on philanthropy for development. Guided by contextual understanding rooted in African cultural traditions and western-style philanthropy, the report examines the state of giving in Ghana, what factors affect it, what guides the decision-making of philanthropic organizations, and how indigenous philanthropic culture and emerging forms that could be harnessed to support local development.
In a rare insight, the report outlines the different streams of giving, captures the history and culture of philanthropy in Ghana, examining existing frameworks and how it could create a disabling environment for philanthropy. Based on the findings, context, and understanding of lessons from other countries, it provides recommendations on the way forward. Refreshingly, the Government of Ghana is receptive to creating an enabling environment for both indigenous and global philanthropy while elevating philanthropy’s role in the development process.
Based on qualitative information from local philanthropies, traditional rulers, secondary materials from government, and relevant sector players, the study revealed that the act of giving is deeply embedded in Ghanaian traditional practices, and is quite familiar to Ghanaians. Also, it was noted that, whereas generally ODA support to Ghana is tailing off, philanthropy support to the WASH sector has increased. Moreover, for Ghana to position itself to benefit from national and global philanthropic support towards SDGs implementation, “the current legal and institutional framework needs to be transformed to support philanthropy and encourage increased partnerships between philanthropic organizations and public-sector development stakeholders.” Furthermore, the study acknowledged the need to foster knowledge and capacity building for philanthropy at the national and community level.
Drawing from the findings and salient contextual factors, it recommends the need to hold a widely consultative dialogue with government to take the findings of the report to a higher level. The report also endorses the prioritization of a national policy or framework to support philanthropy. In addition, it proposed that strengthening the capacity of an independent Ghana Philanthropy and Impact Investing Network as the strategic voice of philanthropy, allowing for a strong and centralized platform for coordinating philanthropic actors. Moreover, discussions should be initiated with government to amend the currently limiting companies act, allowing for other classes of registration including philanthropy to be added. The recurrent issue of tax incentives and returns must be further explored and a framework should be developed for increasingly widespread blend of financing mechanisms such as vendor philanthropy and impact investing. Finally, the report recommends that philanthropy should deepen its collaboration with academia.
In short, this report is an edifying piece of work for foundations and individuals interested in knowing about the philanthropy landscape in Ghana and Africa. While much of this report is meant to push forward discourse on creating enabling environment so as to leverage the vast resources of philanthropy to contribute towards development, it also recognizes the essence of context and how that could shape the inclusion of philanthropy in development. Many discussions on enabling environment tends to dwell on the legal and policy frameworks, but this report takes it a step further to analyse dimensions such as socio-cultural elements and institutional forces at work.
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