South African Press Association
Released on 7 June 2006
Dakar — An independent project that aims to give Africans a greater say in their own development was launched on Tuesday with a startup grant from a US foundation.
The Ford Foundation committed $30m to fund TrustAfrica, which had been operating for the past five years as part of the Ford Foundation.
TrustAfrica will now be based in Senegal’s capital of Dakar and governed solely by Africans.
“Africans need and deserve to have a greater voice in the international donor community and in development efforts across their continent,” Ford Foundation President Susan Berresford said.
The group described TrustAfrica as part think tank, part aid group — an organisation that runs conferences on issues such as citizenship and religious pluralism, convenes meetings of scholars and artists, and helps African organisations improve their business skills.
“Instead of following the lead of external donors — or pushing an agenda of our own making — we help Africans work together to set their own priorities and chart their own course,” executive director Akwasi Aidoo said.
Aidoo, a Ghanian, previously ran Ford Foundation offices in Senegal and Nigeria.
The Ford Foundation added that the group hopes to develop regional programs with relevance across Africa.
Last year, the Ford Foundation set aside $100m to fund 18 foundations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, Eastern Europe and Russia. Ford said TrustAfrica is one of the newest of these projects.
The organisation was previously called the Special Initiative for Africa.