‘Africapitalism’ Promises New Model of African Self-Empowerment
Monday, July 1, 2013
For investors seeking profits, Africa is impossible to ignore.
Sub-Saharan Africa has six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies over the past decade; glossy conferences, heads of state, and private funds all tout the huge returns possible for investing money on the continent.
But now key figures in the private sector are advocating new models of “philanthropic investment”. “Africapitalism”, as one African billionaire has called it – also known as “venture philanthropy” and “philanthro-capitalism” – combines unashamedly for-profit investment and free-market capitalism with the objective of stimulating economic development. Some proponents say that, properly handled, the model could overtake aid as the main way of alleviating poverty.
“Africapitalism is the philosophy that the African private sector has the power to transform the continent through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and social wealth,” said Tony Elumelu, the Nigerian billionaire who founded the United Bank for Africa and is now CEO of Heirs Holdings.
“It is also a call to action for us Africans to take responsibility for our own development – and for non-Africans to evolve their thinking about how best to channel their efforts and investments in the region.”