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Voices of Africa: Human Capital & Development

At the launch of The Rockefeller Foundation publication Shared Journey: The Rockefeller Foundation, Human Capital and Development in Africa, Rockefeller staff, partners and grantees came together to celebrate a lasting legacy of change and innovation on the African continent. The book is one of six produced by the Foundation for our Centennial celebration—together, they tell the story of the Foundation’s work in the United States, Africa and Asia, and in the fields of health and agriculture over the last 100 years.

The Foundation’s rich history in Africa began in 1914 with yellow fever research. Since then, the Foundation’s story in Africa has been one of partnership, working with the people of Africa on health, education, agriculture and a host of other issues. Together, we founded the Institute of Tropical Agriculture in the late 1960s and the Consultative Group in International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in the 1970s, the African Economic Research Consortium in the 1980s,the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and the INDEPTH Network in the 1990s, and the Alliance of a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2006, among a number of other important milestones and collaborations that would define the century.

Today, the Foundation‘s work in Africa is largely focusing on addressing 21st century challenges to livelihoods, ecosystems, urbanization and health, building on our decades of work to support innovative efforts to achieve more equitable growth and build resilience against the shocks and stresses of our rapidly changing world.

This requires us to harness the power and potential of audacious ideas, and help empower leaders who can turn those ideas into solutions. Over the past decade we have seen the emergence of a new generation of African leaders who are building new philanthropic institutions and social enterprises, all contributing to a more robust economic and development landscape.

One hundred years from now, we hope that the already impressive legacies of African philanthropists and their work in education, agriculture, economic and social development will have expanded to include more success in the arts, health and other areas—all while strengthening and supporting, not undermining, the community and familial support systems that have defined Africa’s philanthropy for centuries.

But in the meantime—happy reading.

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