Accomplishments of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, 2000-2010: Report on a Decade of Foundation Investment

Ford Foundation



Case Study Sector


In 2000, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation launched the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) to coordinate their support for higher education in Africa. The Partnership was a response to trends of democratization, public policy reform, and the increasing participation of civil society organizations in a growing number of African countries. Countering the conventional wisdom that prevailed among funding organizations and governments, the foundations argued that Africa’s future rests with the development of its intellectual capital through strong higher education systems, not just with the development of basic education. The PHEA represents both a belief in the importance and viability of higher education to social and economic development in Africa and a mechanism to provide meaningful assistance to its renaissance.

At its establishment, the PHEA foundations pledged $100 million over five years. By the end of that period, in September 2005, the four partners had made grants totaling $191 million. The PHEA was re-launched for a second five year period in 2005, with the founding four joined by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. A renewed commitment was announced, along with a pledge to invest an additional $200 million in African higher education. In 2007, the Kresge Foundation, the seventh foundation partner, joined the PHEA.

This report from the PHEA Secretariat aims to capture the key accomplishments, summarize each foundation’s investments, and convey a sense of the contributions each foundation made to the collective effort.



  • Partnership


  • Africa

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