Does sub-Saharan Africa need capitalist philanthropy to reduce poverty and achieve food security?
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KeywordsPoverty; Sub-Saharan Africa; Capitalist philanthropy; Ubuntu or ‘oneness’; Local communities; Change
Is there an alternative to the undemocratic and unaccountable power of capitalist philanthropy? If people in sub-Saharan Africa at grass roots level are to regain control of their futures, they must bet everything on democracy. But the challenge this presents should not be underestimated. We need social relations through which solutions can be determined with individuals and community groups to serve their needs and over which they exert a high degree of direct responsibility. In the spirit of Ubuntu or ‘oneness’, local communities understand what is required to meet their diverse needs, whether they are revenue-generating options or changing behaviours and conditions that inhibit social transformation. Who owns and controls philanthropy, and how other forms of influence become attached to it, are questions that lie at the heart of any transformational agenda. A local ecosystem model starts from a very different set of principles – it reduces the domination and influence of capitalist philanthropy in global development and instead empowers local communities to drive forward change.