This paper will consider the interrelationship between illicit financial flows (IFFs) and philanthropy in the South African and African economies. The objective of this paper is to explore ways in which African philanthropy can support efforts to improve economic governance and reduce IFFs. Illicit flows have been estimated at over US$1.2 trillion globally in 2012, with particularly harmful effects in vulnerable economies and in African extractive economies in particular (Global Integrity Foundation, 2013; UNECA, 2014). The issue is multi-faceted and involves philanthropic organisations at several different levels: firstly as organisations themselves, secondly with regard to the organisations and individuals with which they work, and thirdly, at a broader scale, in terms of their influence, advocacy and campaign efforts aimed at structural change in the macro economy for the benefit and wellbeing of the poor and excluded. The third is important since the scale of funds that philanthropy can provide to ameliorate poverty, inequality, social exclusion and clean environments is currently considerably offset by the amount of resources directed away from the vulnerable due to IFFs and the consequences of the way the global economy is designed and regulated more generally. Ameliorating IFFs requires building cross-issue networks and platforms for advocacy and campaigning; moving to an African philanthropy narrative and funding base; improving internal transparency; while continuously acting to reduce opacity in the giving sector and beyond, in order to build economic justice.