Centre For Strategic Philanthropy Established At University Of Cambridge Dedicated To High-Growth Markets Including Nigeria

By Ishara Bhasi Callan

A new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy has been established at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School dedicated to examining strategic philanthropy within and from Nigeria and the world’s highest-growth markets, including Africa, Developing Asia, and the Middle East, at a time when philanthropy’s role in building social and environmental resilience is seen as increasingly essential. Through a combination of rigorous research, executive education and the convening of diverse stakeholders, the Centre aims to become the leading hub of actionable knowledge to catalyse even greater philanthropic impact from Nigeria and the world’s fastest growing regions. The Centre will also work with relevant institutions and practitioners in these regions in order to encourage collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and insights.

The Centre is being launched in the midst of a fourth wave of globalization that is resulting in a reallocation of economic power southward and eastward. In 2019, the top 30 fastest growing economies in the world were all in emerging markets. It is estimated that many trillions of dollars will be passed on from one generation to the next in these regions over the next 10 years, with close to $2 trillion wealth transfer by 2030 within Asia alone. Nigeria already has a proud tradition of giving with many of its wealthy individuals setting up foundations and donating money to a range of causes. And the historic period of new wealth creation and inter-generational wealth transfer is expected to lead to a significant increase in philanthropic activity both within and from Nigeria and other fast-growing economies.

Badr Jafar, Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, said: “Today, well over a trillion dollars of private philanthropic capital, more than triple the annual global development and humanitarian aid budgets combined, is deployed every single year. The evidence is also overwhelming that Nigeria and the world’s other emerging economies are becoming an increasingly powerful source of philanthropic capital and social innovation. With the impending generational transition taking place around the world, it is crucial to properly understand the diverse approaches to philanthropy that exist in these markets, and the local and regional factors that have shaped them. 

“Transparency, technology and evolving attitudes toward wealth are reshaping donors’ approaches to giving worldwide. We will likely fail to address the myriad of challenges on the global agenda over the next decade without making a much greater effort to connect, exchange ideas and partner with strategic philanthropists from Nigeria and the world’s fastest growing regions.” 

The growth in emerging market philanthropy could not be occurring at a more critical time. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN had warned an additional $2.5 trillion every year would be needed in order for the world to meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The current crisis has exacerbated this shortfall, with the World Bank warning that the pandemic could push up to 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020.

Meanwhile, government budgets are coming under ever increasing pressure from the pandemic and the global downturn. As the largest oil producer in Africa, the Nigerian economy is particularly vulnerable to the global slump in demand for oil resulting from the pandemic. The UN’s trade and development agency, UNCTAD, predicts that a $2.5 trillion rescue package is needed for the world’s emerging economies as a result of the pandemic. Philanthropic capital can play an important role in addressing this need, both on its own and in combination with other sources of funding.

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