Funding for Africa Up Sharply Between 2002 and 2012, Report Finds

U.S. foundation funding of projects in Africa increased more than 400 percent between 2002 and 2012, from $288.8 million to nearly $1.5 billion, a report from Foundation Center and the Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group finds.

Based on an analysis of grants of at least $10,000 awarded by a thousand of the largest U.S. foundations, the report, U.S. Foundation Funding for Africa (16 pages, PDF), found that the number of grants awarded to projects in Africa also increased, from 1,380 to 1,965. While the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose commitments jumped from $69.1 million in 2002 to more than $1 billion in 2012 (71 percent of the total), accounted for the lion's share of the increase, grant dollars from other funders also increased, up some 90 percent, from $219.7 million to $422.1 million. In 2012, the largest funders of projects in Africa after Gates were the Ford ($60.3 million), Rockefeller ($26.6 million), and Open Society ($24.7 million) foundations.

In terms of issue areas, health received the most funding in 2012, with the Gates Foundation accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total. Excluding Gates grants, international development and relief received the most funding (29 percent), followed by health (22 percent) and education (11 percent). The report also found that, in 2012, about 26 percent of foundation funding for Africa went directly to organizations headquartered in Africa, with Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Senegal receiving the most grant dollars, while the share of Africa-focused grants going directly to organizations headquartered in Africa was lower than in 2002.

"Given the size and complexity of the continent and the diversity of funders, this research is only the beginning of what we hope will be more examination of philanthropy's interest in Africa,” said AGAG executive director Niamani Mutima. “Hopefully it will motivate dialogue among all stakeholders in support of making philanthropy more meaningful, effective, and responsive. Better data on funding for Africa can encourage new funders, help identify gaps, promote coordination, and do more of what is making a difference."

"Groundbreaking Research Reveals Changes in Funding for Africa." Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group and Foundation Center Press Release 11/18/2015.