According to the grant database maintained by the Foundation Center in New York City, American philanthropies made 13,565 grants to Africa between 2003 and 2013. These grants total nearly $4 billion. However, these grants were not equally distributed between countries. One important factor affecting a country’s ability to attract grants is its official or primary language. While there are more Francophone African countries than Anglophone, Lusophone and Arabic countries, most funding from U.S. foundations went to countries where English is the dominant language. Our study’s main finding confirms the foundations’ general tendency to mainly make grants to English-speaking institutions. This finding suggests that U.S. foundations applied a geopolitical strategy of investment and maximization along former colonial lines, in particular former British colonies. U.S. foundations’ geopolitical agenda might not be formulated with specific post-colonial considerations. Nonetheless, colonial lines emerge as clear demarcations between Africa’s new knowledge societies. These lines are reinforced by the foundations’ grant-making strategies.
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