What is the Brenthurst Foundation and How They Attempt to Shape Africa?

What is the Brenthurst Foundation and How They Attempt to Shape Africa

In Johannesburg, a think tank known as the Brenthurst Foundation stands out, founded in 2004 by the influential Oppenheimer family. Its creation marked the beginning of a concerted effort to address Africa’s economic landscape, building upon the groundwork laid by the Brenthurst Initiative introduced in 2003. This initiative sparked discussions across South Africa about policy strategies capable of propelling the country towards higher economic growth rates.

The Mission and Impact

At its core, the Brenthurst Foundation seeks to extend its influence across the African continent, aiming to attract investments essential for the continent’s renewal and prosperity. The foundation’s activities span a broad spectrum, from setting up policy frameworks that foster economic development to hosting high-level dialogues with government officials. It’s known for its commitment to reshaping Africa’s economic narrative, positioning the continent as a significant player on the global stage through practical policy advice and strategic research on pressing economic and political issues.

The foundation has made its mark in various African nations, including but not limited to Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, and Rwanda, engaging in diverse roles that support each country’s unique journey towards economic enhancement.

Bridging Knowledge through Study Tours

A notable aspect of the Brenthurst Foundation’s work is the organization of policy study tours. These excursions aim to immerse African policymakers and influencers in environments showcasing developmental ‘best practices’. High-ranking officials, sometimes even prime ministers, have participated in these tours, which have spanned continents, visiting countries with exemplary governance and economic policies like Vietnam, Singapore, and Morocco.

“The Foundation publishes op-ed articles and discussion papers on matters related to growth and security and hosts election monitoring missions in Africa. It also conducts opinion surveys on key policy matters and on election attitudes.”

The Advisory Powerhouse

Advisory Board The Brenthurst Foundation Advisory Board comprises a number of eminent and notable government officials, academics, and business leaders. It is chaired by Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria.

Other members of the Board include:

  • Jonathan Oppenheimer, the Foundation’s Director
  • Dr Greg Mills, Deputy Chair to Commission to the African Union
  • Erastus Mwencha, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn
  • Former President of Liberia and Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
  • Professor INCAE Alberto Trejos
  • Former Minister of the Economy in Argentina Alfonso de Prat Gay
  • Counsellor to H.M. King Mohammed VI in Morocco André Azoulay
  • Greek Politician and Public Figure Anna Diamantopoulou
  • Member of the Presidential Council on Minority Rights in Singapore Barry Desker
  • Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma
  • Former Ambassador of Colombia to the United States Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno
  • Managing Partner of the Africa Legal Network Karim Anjarwalla
  • Former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe
  • Former Deputy Minister of Finance in South Africa Mcebisi Jonas
  • Former Chief of Defence in the United Kingdom Nick Carter
  • Former United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers
  • Former Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom Rory Stewart
  • Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to South Africa Torben Brylle.

A Legacy of Insightful Publications

Since its inception, the foundation has produced a wealth of literature addressing key global and continental issues:

  • In the Name of the People: How Populism is Rewiring the World (October 2022)
  • Better Choices: Ensuring South Africa’s Future (September 2022)
  • The Ledger: Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan (December 2021)
  • Expensive Poverty: Why Aid Fails and How it Can Work (October 2021)
  • The Asian Aspiration: Why and How Africa Should Emulate Asia (March 2020)
  • Vital Signs: Health Security in South Africa (January 2020)
  • Democracy Works: Re-Wiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage (January 2019)
  • Making Africa Work: A Handbook for Economic Success (May 2017)
  • A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence (November 2015)
  • How South Africa Works – And Must do Better (March 2015)
  • Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (October 2014)
  • Somalia – Fixing Africa’s Most Failed State (March 2013)
  • Africa’s Third Liberation (November 2012)
  • On the Fault Line: Managing Tensions and Divisions within Societies (March 2012)
  • Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It (January 2012)
  • Victory Among People: Lessons from Countering Insurgency and Stabilising Fragile States (February 2011)
  • From Africa to Afghanistan: With Richards and NATO to Kabul (August 2007)
  • Big African States: Angola, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan (November 2006)


Through its influential publications, high-level dialogues, and on-the-ground research, the Brenthurst Foundation continues to be a beacon of knowledge and change for Africa’s economic performance. It stands not just as a think tank but as a force for continental regeneration, pushing the boundaries of what is possible for the prosperity of Africa and its people.

Latest News

Jacob Zuma News

Send Us A Message