Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide

West Africa

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West Africa has seen some of the most inspiring political developments on the African continent; now the challenge is to ensure that people have equal access to economic and social opportunities.

The Regional Context

Since the mid-1990s, West Africa has seen the historic shift from military regimes to constitutional rule, cessation of civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and renewed regional economic integration.

West Africa's people have taken important steps to secure this democratic transition by promoting peace and security, strengthening fiscal management, deepening the rule of law, tackling corruption, and instilling accountability and transparency in government practice and the delivery of basic services.

These governance measures and reforms appear to have reversed the economic stagnation of the previous decade. But progress has been tenuous.

The region is home to nearly half of the 300 million poor people reported by the United Nations to be living on less than $1.25 a day in Africa. Malaria is endemic, and HIV/AIDS remains a threat. Institutions are weak, and corruption is pervasive and widespread. Unemployment, especially among the region's abundant youth population is alarmingly high. Poverty is a major source of ethnic, religious and resource control tensions, and conflicts that lead to personal and public insecurity pose a threat to West Africa's fledgling democracies.

Our Goal

The goal of our work is to improve governance systems and livelihood opportunities for the poor.

This is a critical time in West Africa. The region's socioeconomic shortfalls must be addressed; and advancements in democratic governance must be protected and expanded or the gains may lose traction.

What We're Doing

Our work reflects what we believe to be the best way to help those most in need. We support efforts to engage government on behalf of the marginalized and underrepresented, and help civil society empower these communities.

We focus primarily on Nigeria, the largest economy in the subregion and Africa's most populous country.

Our grant making in the region is pursued through the following initiatives.

Issue Initiative
Democratic and Accountable Government
Economic Fairness
Freedom of Expression
Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice

From the Library

  • West Africa brochureFord Foundation West Africa 2010 marked 50 years of grant making in the region. We support civil society organizations that are strengthening democracy, advancing human rights, expanding economic opportunity, and promoting adolescent reproductive health. 5 MB

Regional Office



  • Innocent Chukwuma
  • Eva  Danty Kouka-Quenum
  • Paul Nwulu
  • Friday Okonofua


Ford Foundation
P.O. Box 2368 Marina
Lagos, Nigeria

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