Prospects and Options for Sustainable and Inclusive Crowdfunding in African Cities

Prospects and Options for Sustainable and Inclusive Crowdfunding in African Cities

Innocent Chirisa (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe), Liaison Mukarwi (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe) and Abraham Rajab Matamanda (University of the Free State, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3952-0.ch011

Abstract

The utility of crowdfunding in promoting sustainable development is beyond doubt due to its popularity in the Global North. The application of this concept in the Global South, especially in Africa, is ill-understood and questionable considering the high levels of corruption, poverty, and poor governance. Applying the concept of crowdfunding in Africa then becomes problematic. The chapter aims to undertake a critical analysis of the concept of crowdfunding and its sustainability in advancing the success of urban-based projects in African cities. What can (or should) be the defining pillars for sustainable and inclusive crowdfunding? What are the known (or even unknown) limits and prospects to initiatives like crowdfunding? What are the answers to the colonial legacy derived scepticisms about self-worth and context? What options do the African cities have? The chapter engages a mix of methodologies including literature review, document review, and case studies. Thematic content analysis is applied in building up the discourse. From the study, five critical observations emerge.
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Introduction And Background

The utility of crowdfunding in promoting sustainable development is beyond doubt due to its popularity in the Global North, where it is highly touted and deemed as a genial option for sustainable urban development, among other policy programmes and projects (CrowdfundingHub, 2016; European Commission, 2014). The application of this concept in the Global South, especially in Africa is ill-understood and questionable considering the high levels of corruption, poverty and poor governance (World Bank, 2013). Applying the concept of crowdfunding in Africa then becomes problematic. The foregoing has led to urban areas in Africa being centres of problems emanating from shortage of social services and facilities (UN-HABITAT, 2010). According to Wetlake, Baeck and Bone (2016, traditionally, crowdfunding has been reserved to the realms of arts and music, but recently it has been developed to be used as a tool to fundraise a plethora of projects. Crowdfunding is gaining popularity in all facets of everyday life as it offers a platform where citizens from different areas can pool resources for a common cause (World Bank, 2013). A recent research by Nesta estimated that crowdfunding facilitated £3.2 billion worth of loans, investments and donations in the UK in 2015 (Wetlake, Baeck and Bone, 2016). Civic crowdfunding represents a further development of the tool, as individuals and organizations begin to raise funds through online platforms for local urban development projects, as opposed to applying for traditional governmental or charity grant funding, or leaving urban development to local governments or developers (Nesta, 2012).

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