Giving in Africa climbs as Western world falters says CAF World Giving Index

5 September 2017

Giving in Africa has risen, bucking a global fall this year according to the CAF World Giving Index, the leading global index of generosity.

The CAF World Giving Index, the leading comparative study of global generosity, records the number of people who helped a stranger in the past month, volunteered their time, or gave money to a good cause. For the 2017 report, 146,000 people were interviewed in 139 countries.

This year, the global index was down slightly on 2016: donating money and helping a stranger were down 1.8 percentage points whilst volunteering was down 0.8 percentage points.

However, whilst global generosity appears to have contracted, the decline is most noticeable amongst developed nations which failed to maintain the increases made in 2016. The USA, the UK and Australia all fell three places, and despite remaining in fourth, New Zealand saw a two percentage point decrease in its World Giving Index score.

Conversely, whilst many developed nations fell, Africa showed the strong performance it saw in 2016, experiencing growth across all three giving behaviours (against its five year average). It was the only continent to achieve this and a feat it has achieved for the second consecutive year.

Twenty percent of this year’s top 20 places were occupied by African nations (Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Zambia) and  eight nations (Ghana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Kenya Liberia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tunisia) saw their World Giving Index score increase by more than 5 percentage points, meaning Africa accounted for  most of the countries on this year’s  ‘most improved’ list.

Commenting on the report, Sir John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation said:

“It’s human instinct to help others and it’s always humbling to be reminded that hundreds of millions of people around the world sacrifice their time, money and effort for the sake of others.

“This year’s Index results are slightly down on last year’s but it’s too early to know if this is a cause for real concern. It does remind us that our global culture of generosity should never be taken for granted.

“The big story this year is the amazing rise in giving across Africa. Around the world, economic development is lifting the income of millions of people and it is truly humbling to see that the natural reaction to increasing wealth is to give back to the society that nurtured.”

Governments worldwide should make it a priority to encourage giving, build up civil society and seize the opportunity to translate economic development into a culture of generosity that will benefit everyone.”

Key findings of the report

  • The report suggests an overall decline in global generosity, particularly amongst developed nations.Only six of the G20 countries appear in the top 20 and all experienced a decline in their WGI score.
  • Myanmar retains its crown as the world’s most generous country for the fourth year in a row. However, despite maintaining its position it also experienced a drop in its overall score, down from 70% to 65%.
  • Africa is the only continent to buck this downward trend, experiencing an upswing across all three giving behaviours (against its five year average). Kenya was one of the continent’s star performers, jumping from twelfth place to third with an eight percentage point increase in its WGI score.
  • Sierra Leone now tops the league for the country most likely to help a stranger, 81% of respondents reporting they had done so over the preceding month. Conversely, Cambodia now ranks bottom with only 18% of people reporting helping a stranger. Indonesia topped the table for volunteering with a participation rate of 55%. Armenia ranked bottom with a participation rate of just 4%.

The Charities Aid Foundation, which delivers more than £500 million to charities annually, has been producing the CAF World Giving Index since 2010 in order to inform wider research into the state of charitable giving at a national and international level.

Although only providing a snapshot, the WGI remains the largest survey of its kind undertaken. For this year’s report, more than 146,000 people were surveyed in 139 countries.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the media team on 03000 123 286 or email:


The 2017 CAF World Giving Index is available here.

The 2016 CAF World Giving Index is available here.

WGI figures 2017

About CAF

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity registered in the United Kingdom, with a presence in nine countries covering six continents. Its mission is to motivate society to give ever more effectively and help transform lives and communities around the world. We do this by working globally to increase the flow of funds to the charity and non-profit sectors through the provision of philanthropy advice and services.


The World Giving Index is primarily based upon data from Gallup’s World View World Poll, which is an ongoing research project carried out in 139 countries in 2016 that together represent around  95% of the world’s population (around 5.2 billion people).  The survey asks questions on many different aspects of life today including giving behaviour. The countries surveyed and questions asked in each region varies from year to year and is determined by Gallup. More detail on Gallup’s methodology can be viewed online.

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