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George Soros began his philanthropic work in Africa in 1979. Today, Open Society–Africa works on democratic governance, economic advancement, and a host of other issues across the continent.


Johannesburg, South Africa

Dakar, Senegal

Nairobi, Kenya

By the Numbers

$112.5M 2022 expenditures for Africa
8.5% Percentage of global expenditures
4.6% Average annual change in expenditures since 2016

Expenditures by Year

Explore our full expenditures by region

Our Work

A man stands on the road with his bicycle.
A paralegal stands with his bicycle on a road near Kampala, Uganda, in June 2013. © Sven Torfinn/Panos for the Open Society Foundations

Open Society–Africa works with a range of civil society groups to promote just democracies and economic policies that advance equality.

Expression and Participation

A woman raises her fist at a protest
A woman whose son was killed by police raises her fist in protest against police brutality, in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 5, 2020. © Patrick Meinhardt/AFP/Getty

We strive to amplify people’s voices, through conscious organizing, to express themselves and participate in public life, to challenge and disrupt the exercise of unchecked power, and to hold public and private institutions to account for their actions. In Kenya and South Africa, for instance, we have supported “citizen audit” programs, where local groups use publicly available information on government contracts and plans to check on whether the promised goods and services—from schools to lavatories—were actually built and to what standards.

Security and Rights

A crowd of protestors
People protesting military rule gather outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, on April 25, 2019. © Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty

Against the background of instability in the southern Sahel, in Central Africa, in the Horn of Africa, and in other geographies, we support groups that take a rights-based approach to security sector governance and accountability, and that work to counter militarism. This includes advocating for full civilian control of military institutions and countering efforts to use claimed threats to national security to undermine democratic institutions and accountability.

Accountability and Justice

Two election observers in Sierra Leone check a computer with live data from a polling station.
Observers for the National Election Watch at work in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on November 16, 2012. © Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty

We support groups that promote accountable, just, and inclusive democracies governed by law in which rights are promoted and protected. This includes our work to promote free, fair, and peaceful elections, such as the creation of a web-based “situation room” that supports election monitoring efforts by independent civil society groups during recent elections in Nigeria and Senegal.

Opportunity and Equity

A group of people waiting in line outside of a medical tent
People wait outside a medical tent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, on March 29, 2021. © Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty

Open Society–Africa supports progressive economic and social norms, policies, and practices that create opportunity and promote equality and rights. This has shaped our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which underline deep global inequalities—versus the countries of the Global North—in access not just to vaccines, but also to diagnostic testing and treatments, particularly in Africa. We are pushing to expand affordable access to health care with a drive to support Africa-based research, development, and manufacturing enterprises that will form the basis of resilient, secure, and effective health care delivery.

Our History

George Soros began his philanthropy in South Africa, giving scholarships to Black South African students in 1979. The Foundations’ work in Africa has expanded dramatically since then, and notably provided support to a range of civil society groups that helped drive a wave of democratic change starting in the 1990s.

With the end of apartheid, we opened our national foundation in South Africa in 1993, followed by our first African regional foundation—the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa—in 1997. Our Open Society Initiative for West Africa, based in Dakar, followed in 2000. The Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa opened its doors in Nairobi in 2005, after Kenya held multiparty elections in 2002. In 2022, the separate regional foundations merged into a single regional entity: Open Society–Africa with offices in Dakar, Nairobi, and Johannesburg.

Highlights of Our Work in Africa

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