In partnership with the International Development Research Centre, TrustAfrica operates a special fund to promote enterprise and livelihoods in Africa through research and advocacy. Known as the Investment Climate & Business Environment (ICBE) Research Fund, in its first phase it awarded roughly US$1,481,000 in research grants. In 2010 we lauched the second phase, which provided an additional US$2.5 million for cutting-edge research over a three-year period. We are intent on building knowledge about investment policies and business practices that accelerate human development and fuel broadly shared prosperity.
The fund has generated research and knowledge that has influenced policy on enterprise development (especially SMEs) in many countries in Africa. It has also built a solid foundation of partnerships and enhanced the capacity of groups undertaking this work. For more about the fund’s accomplishments, click here.
Over the past two decades, Africa has achieved remarkable economic growth, outpacing most other regions in the world. Yet the benefits of greater investment and higher returns have been heavily concentrated among small segments of the population. Africa’s future hinges on its ability to develop markets that benefit the whole of society. Disparities from policies that hinder the majority of the continent’s people and businesses, especially small and medium-scale enterprises, keep them at a great disadvantage.
Featured at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, the ICBE Research Fund uses competitive research grant mechanisms, training workshops and partnerships between business schools and private-sector organizations to contribute to a better investment climate and business environment in Africa. The Fund operates in English and French and includes all regions of the African continent.
Our first two calls for proposals, issued in June 2006 and August 2007, drew 306 submissions from universities, business schools and independent research consultants in 33 African countries. For each round of funding, we engaged peer reviewers to grade the proposals and convened a pan-African jury to select the winners. In all, we awarded 31 small grants of up to $10,000 each, 20 intermediate grants of up to $50,000 each and three large grants of up to $100,000 each.
Our second phase drew fewer submissions (243 submissions after two calls for proposals) but our reach was far greater, attracting responses from 47 African countries. This time, we awarded 21 small grants of up to $10,000 each, 27 intermediate grants of up to $50,000 each and ten large grants of up to $100,000. This time, we added a round of funding and selected some applicants from underrepresented countries whose proposals were initially rejected. After training them on how to write good proposals, a team of experts reviewed the revised proposals and awarded grants accordingly, in an attempt to increase the reach of the ICBE program.
TrustAfrica believes in the importance of promoting the rights of women and girls across the continent. From access to land and credit, to political participation and leadership and equal opportunities in education, women are disadvantaged from participating in opportunities to improve their lives at the same level as men. To address these and other deficiencies, our programs strive to use a gender lens to consider issues within a gender context and ensure that we maintain a gender aware approach throughout their implementation. Additionally, TrustAfrica as an organization works to ensure that there is equal opportunity and representation throughout its own staff and Board.
Most recently, through the generous support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we implemented a program that focused on the third Millennium Development Goal, which calls on member states to promote gender equality and empower women. Entitled “Enhancing Women’s Dignity,” the project worked to curb gender violence and promote women’s political participation. You can learn more about the “Enhancing Women’s Dignity Project” under the projects category below.
The decline of Africa’s higher education sector can be seen in overcrowded lecture rooms, crumbling infrastructure, obsolete curricula and, in many cases, poor and outdated pedagogy and inadequate funding. These factors, together with low research outputs and weak links to industry, mean that the sector is unable to meet the demands of Africa in the 21st century.
Over the past several years, TrustAfrica has worked to build a continent-wide movement to revitalize the higher education sector. It has forged partnerships with pan-African and international organizations and brought together a range of stakeholders, including leaders from government, business, students, academic unions and civil society as well as educators.
National-level dialogues in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda were followed in March 2015 with the first-ever Continental Summit on Higher Education hosted by President Macky Sall of Senegal. The summit was attended by key stakeholders from across the continent, including high-level officials such as ministers and vice chancellors. Among the dignitaries at the summit were Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Ms. Oby Ezekwesili, former Vice President for Africa of the World Bank.
The summit’s Declaration and Action Plan, which set out a bold agenda to transform the African higher education sector, was tabled by President Sall at the 25th session of Assembly of the African Union in June 2015. Consequently, the AU established a group of ten Heads of State led by President Sall to champion education, science and technology on the continent. We are working closely with the Government of Senegal to support the Heads of State group.
Other efforts to advance the summit’s action plan include national summits in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania to set priorities for transforming their higher education sectors.
Despite its recognized role as an engine for economic growth, African agriculture remains hobbled by inadequate public spending and policies. This is particularly true for smallholder farming, where productivity boosts could lead to food security and more widely shared prosperity.
Since 2009, TrustAfrica has been working with farmers’ organizations to strengthen their ability to hold their governments to account to commitments they made as members of the African Union, including allocating 10 percent of national budgets to the sector.
Grants have supported advocacy by smallholder farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations and policy research organizations in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Building on previous successes, partners continue to petition for transparency in national budget allocations to agriculture, better support and provision of extension and advisory services and a bigger role for smallholders in the agriculture value chain.
Current and future work includes continued support for increasing the capacity of these groups to participate in policymaking processes, with attention to helping advocates with tabling their policy requests and advancing smallholder issues at the continental level.
A knowledge hub and interactive discussion platform is in the works for better information sharing among advocacy networks, as is the development of a community of practice on agriculture advocacy.
The Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT) is a public interest environmental organization, based in Tanzania. Its purpose is to foster sound natural resources management and environmental protection.
LEAT received a grant through our Agriculture Advocacy Project which seeks to build a more robust advocacy movement for sustainable and equitable agricultural development in Africa. It encourages civil society to make use of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) to hold governments more accountable to their constituents working in agriculture. In August 2011, LEAT received a $30,000 grant to develop a campaign to increase the budget for the agriculture sector in Tanzania, in order to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Specifically, the campaign is for a 10% increase in the National Budget for agriculture in the years 2012-2013.
In light of its objectives, LEAT produced a number of advocacy materials.
As part of its strategy to use the arts and cultural activism as a means to advance social and political change, TrustAfrica's Zimbabwe Alliance, in conjunction with Magamba Cultural Activist Network and Pemberi Trust organized an exciting program in Harare Zimbabwe, May 1-6. Entitled "Create, Inspire, Change," the festival offered a platform to the usually marginalized youth voices and created an inspiring space for a wide range of artistic expression, including Hip Hop, Reggae, Graffiti, spoken word, painting, and theatre as a mechanism for addressing issues related to democracy, governance and social justice. Take a look at the video created from the event.
At TrustAfrica, we seek to generate new philanthropic resources among our fellow Africans, whether living on the continent or among the diaspora.
- Our goal
- Our goal is to inspire 10,000 individuals to contribute US$100 per year. Your gift can help us develop cohesive African responses to some of our region’s most urgent challenges.
- TrustAfrica also needs your support to ensure that we can sustain our work and that we are not overly dependent on foreign donors.To ensure that TrustAfrica remains a truly African institution, we're seeking donors from across the continent and throughout the diaspora.
- One of our primary goals is to promote sound management, transparent governance, effective communication, and sustainable results among nongovernmental organizations in Africa. We expect no less of ourselves, and we strive to embody these qualities in every aspect of our operations.
TrustAfrica is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the United States, and contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowable by law.
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