The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is a model for doing development differently. Our foreign assistance is an investment in local economic development in Africa today for peaceful and prosperous trading partners tomorrow.

USADF is an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African owned and led enterprises which improve lives and livelihoods in poor and vulnerable communities in Africa.

We work with vulnerable populations, including recovering communities, smallholder farmers, women and girls, at-risk youth, people with disabilities, and ethnic and religious minorities. These populations are underserved, but ready to do their part in Africa's growth story. 


African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support

USADF supports African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support. This empowers those who are least served by existing markets or assistance programs to become a part of Africa’s growth story. Resilience grants empower groups to achieve greater food security and income stability. Growth grants help community enterprises expand production and achieve greater market access.

USADF responds to unsolicited applications from African community enterprises in eligible countries.  USADF field staff review the application and make site visits to verify that the application fits with country strategies and broader USADF objectives. If approved, a local USADF technical partner helps the applicant turn their ideas into viable business and project plans. The partner also provides technical and monitoring support during project implementation. 

Grants Types in Job Placement, Off-Grid Energy, and Youth Entrepreneurship

USADF is expanding its  reach and impact by doing more job placement grants in Somalia, adding $2.8 million of new Off-Grid Energy grants in Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, and awarding $900,000 for 36 youth entrepreneurship grants. These grants leverage USADF's best practices, resources, and expertise, and position USADF to serve the evolving development priorities in Africa.

$53 million Invested in 500 Active Enterprises in 2016

The majority of USADF's budget is applied to projects grants that directly fund expansion and growth activities for small enterprises, farmer associations, cooperatives, and community groups that create jobs and generate better income levels in poor communities. USADF currently has $53 million invested in 500 active enterprises. 

Approved project applications are typically funded in one of two following grant assistance mechanisms:

  • Enterprise Expansion Grants (EEG) – Provides funding up to $250,000 over five years for established enterprises and organizations with a viable growth and expansion plan.
  • Operational Assistance Grants (OAG) – Provides funding up to $100,000 over two years for improving financial, managerial, and technical capacity, and for limited fixed capital or working capital items. This grant positions the organization to more effectively utilize future expansion funding.

Sustainable Development through Local Technical Partners

A priority for USADF program funding is building a network of African expert support providers. These Technical Partners in turn provide technical services needed by USADF grantees that help ensure their success. Partners also gain long term capabilities to provide ongoing economic development support within each country not only for USADF programs but also as change agents for other economic growth and development activities. In FY 2013 USADF invested over $4.5 million to develop local partner organizations in 19 African countries.