On behalf of the American people, USADF stands with communities across the African continent

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent federal agency established to support African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support. Partnering with Africans, USADF is answering the development demands from communities one partnership at a time.

USADF is working with African communities in fragile and post-conflict areas throughout the Sahel, Horn and Great Lakes region, empowering vulnerable populations such as ethnic and religious minorities, pastoralists, youth and women, and those living with disabilities create sustainable livelihoods. 

USADF invests grants of up to $250,000 directly to underserved community enterprises. USADF partners with community enterprises to support organizations to create and sustain jobs, improve income levels and achieve greater food security. USADF meets the demand of local enterprises to expand markets and create pathways to prosperity. USADF grants range from $50K to $250K investments, allowing many groups to “right-size” funding to fit their needs and constraints. 

USADF supported projects create pathways for African communities to become a part of Africa’s overall growth story. In 2016, USADF awarded over 200 grants to community enterprises, and invested millions to support self-help activities at the local level. USADF grants are helping grassroots communities to create better livelihoods by generating $100 million in new local economic activities that produce stable jobs and better incomes.  

What does USADF stand for?


African Led. At the core of USADF’s programming is our direct connection to African ingenuity and Africans developing solutions. USADF finds, funds and scales social enterprises to create sound and sustainable communities. Africans lead our country teams, and implement our African-led model. USADF headquarters in Washington, D.C. coordinates with each of the 18 field offices led by Country Program Coordinators. Each project is unique, and must be monitored closely for success. USADF in Washington, DC coordinates with each of the 18 Field Offices and technical partners to develop and monitor each project’s financial benchmarks and set internal audits for each project. USADF maintains a rigorous, evidenced-based framework for monitoring and evaluating program performance. Key indicators are identified for each grant, which are tracked to a performance matrix and form the basis for an ongoing learning agenda. Grant performance is scored bi-annually against established goals, helping to define program outcomes and to shape program management objectives.


Demand Driven. At the core of USADF’s programming is our direct connection to African solutions for the development challenges each community faces. USADF support is requested by local community associations, cooperatives and social entrepreneurs to increase their organization's ability to successfully unlock opportunities to develop or expand local markets. USADF extends the reach of the U.S. Government’s foreign assistance programs by using small grants or seed capital and customized technical assistance to target each project's constraints to growth and success. USADF is customizing community needs with economic trends to ensure a future generation of Africans in a global marketplace.


First Mile of Development. USADF is on the frontier of development working with a diversity of groups from smallholder farmers cooperatives to youth-led enterprises working to make their communities a better place. By serving communities at the start of the development pyramid, we identify and target Africans who need various levels of support, and use our targeted and patient capital to ensure a complete financial, technical and grassroots approach to their success. By working with the most vulnerable, including those impacted by conflict,  the disabled, women and at-risk youth, and religious minorities; USADF caters each project benchmark to the group, its objectives and the work or progress grantees have contributed to make the project a success. Although the grants seem small in size compared to other development agencies, USADF prides itself on transferring the financial knowledge and project management skills necessary to properly use each dollar.