This year Ramadan fasting will start across the world in the next few hours. This is a month in which 1.9 billion Muslims, 24.7% of the world population are expected to increase in spiritual activities in addition to fasting from dawn to night. At least, the increase in spiritual activities is expected to be more in countries with the largest Muslim populations.
In 2020, some of the voluntary and compulsory spiritual activities were suspended due to the COVID-19 spread. Where the activities were held, Muslims adopted strategies that aligned with the global measures for the containment of the virus spread. As this year’s fasting period closes, governments and health officials in countries where the cases of the virus are still occurring are working out modalities for reducing the spread. Our analyst reports that measures employed in 2020 are being reintroduced. For instance, the Morroccoan government has suggested the introduction of curfew in areas considered hot spots.
Apart from observing special prayers during the day and night, Muslims are mandated to also participate in activities that increase social inclusion, interpersonal relationship and kingship in respective of age, gender and race or nationality. In line with this our analyst examines the African giving market in relation to the Muslims population in select countries from 30 countries studied by Care Aid Foundation between 2010 and 2020. The foundation looks at three aspects of giving behaviour; helped a stranger, donated money to a charity and volunteered time to an organisation.
Further examination of the overall rank and scores for each behaviour by our analyst indicates 36.3% connection between citizens’ donation to charity organisations and helping strangers among 20 of the 30 countries [see Exhibit 1] in 10 years. Analysis also reveals that donating and volunteering time for participation in activities of organisations that help people resonate by 48.2%. Over 63%, which is the largest and significant connection, was found for volunteering and helping strangers, indicating that people are more likely to help strangers while volunteering their time for social causes than when they wanted to donate. In other words, a strong difference exists between donating and volunteering time in the 20 countries.
Muslims in the Context of African Giving Market
Though CAF sampled the views of people irrespective of their religious practice across the world, our analyst exrapolates the data to set the Muslim Giving Market into proper perspectives along with the Muslim population of the countries [see Exhibit 2]. Analysis shows 27.6% connection of Muslim population with the donating behaviour while negative connections were found for the population and helping strangers [-11%] and volunteering time [-2.2%].
According to our analyst, these results suggest that Muslims in the countries are more likely to donate to organisations, which would be organising various programmes such as lecturers and meal production and distribution for the people during the month than assisting strangers and volunteering their time for special causes at Mosques and other places, where people are expected to congregate.
If we are to follow the general data released by the CAF, Muslims in Kenya and Tanzania are likely to donate more than those in the remaining 18 countries we studied. It is also possible to have Muslims in Kenya and Liberia, helping strangers and volunteering their time during the month. Meanwhile, our check reveals that as of April 11, 2021, interest in help is huge among the people in Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and South Africa.
Existing statistics for 2020 indicates that the population of Muslims in the top 20 African giving countries is 238,720,776. According to our aggregate analysis, 9.8% are expected to donate to charity organisations, helping strangers and volunteer during the month. We also found that 31% of the population would donate while 9.8% and 6.2% are likely not to help strangers and volunteer their time for certain activities during the month. Disaggregate analysis shows that 7.6% would donate, 1.2% would help strangers, all are likely not to volunteer during the month.
Exhibit 1: Top 20 African Giving Countries in Last 10 Years
Exhibit 2: Muslim Population of Top 20 African Giving Countries
Enhancing Value Co-Creation and Capturing of the of Giving Market
From the insights and perspectives given, it is clear that Islamic scholars and organisations need to work collectively towards improved value creation and capturing in the market. Scholars, who will be delivering lectures during the months, need to stress the concept of giving and its benefits on earth and hereafter. Muslims need to be equipped with the sustainable value they will capture while donating, helping strangers and assisting organisations in uplifting the poor and the needy during and after the month.
Scholars need to remind Muslims the essence of self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate. This will go in a long way of increasing the actions of generosity, compulsory and voluntary charities. Charity organisations should look into appropriation of an integrated communication method for the communication of the value and benefits such as “Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply it many times?”(Quran 2:245) of giving to the Ummah.