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Sub-Saharan Africa


heading foldHow we are helping

2012/13 Expenditure

$385.6 million

2013/14 Proposed Expenditure

$230.4 million


Expenditure is total official development assistance inclusive of DFAT’s bilateral program, flows from DFAT regional and global programs and other government departments.

Implementation of the revised 2013-14 budget is currently under discussion with partner governments and organisations.


Australia's development cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa seeks to make a practical and unique contribution by focusing on sectors where Australia has experience and expertise and is best able to make a difference. Australia’s assistance to Africa is focused on:

  • food security and agriculture
  • water and sanitation
  • maternal and child health
  • helping build Africa's human resource capacity.

We are also supporting African governments’ efforts to improve governance and transparency in the mining sector and are responsive to humanitarian needs in Africa.

To maximise the impact of our programs, Australia is aligning its development efforts with the priorities and efforts of African governments and institutions working primarily through effective multilateral partners and other donors.

Australia has invested $1,130 million in sub-Saharan Africa in the previous three years (2010-11 to 2012-13). Some of the key results include:

  • providing food assistance to 7.9 million people in the region
  • vaccinating an estimated 2.5 million children against measles, 2.6 million against polio and 25,000 against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus
  • providing more than 4,000 Australian Awards (scholarships) to African candidates since 1960.

More results can be viewed under the ‘see our results’ tab above.

Australia expects to provide $230.4 million in development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa in 2013–14. Australia remains committed to delivering results in sub-Saharan Africa and our development assistance is expected to have a resounding impact in future years. We will:

  • be responsive to new and existing humanitarian crises
  • continue to deliver capacity building programs across African countries, including a large Awards program that will offer approximately 650 long term and short term Australia Awards across a wide range of countries
  • deliver targeted training, study tours and technical advice through our Australia-Africa Partnership Facility (AAPF)
  • assist 60,000 poor farmers in Zimbabwe to purchase agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertiliser, livestock, veterinary products and crop insurance.
  • continue to work with partners in Northern Kenya to provide cash transfers to 100,000 chronically food insecure households.

More on expected outcomes can be viewed under the ‘see our results’ tab above.



Results 2012–13

  • Provided 410,678 people (including 132,126 women) with increased access to safe water.
  • Over 220,000 people now have increased knowledge of hygiene practices.
  • Treated nearly 45,000 people (including 20,275 women) for measles, malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and severe malnutrition, and providing over 105,000 with information on prevention.
  • Provided over 37,000 families with family planning services in Kenya and Tanzania, and over 133,000 people (including 4,586 people with disability), with sexual reproductive health information.
  • Increased the provision of basic sanitation for 11,798 school children in the Nampala province, Mozambique.

More about health


Results 2012–13

  • More than 5,000 Australia Awards granted to African candidates since 1960.
  • In 2012, 1,026 Awards were granted to African nationals, including 336 long-term PhD or Masters Awards.
  • In 2013, more than 1,000 Awards to Africa in the areas of governance, health, education, mining, water and sanitation and agriculture.

More about education

Economic development

Results 2012–13

  • More than 164,000 men and women gained access to and are using agricultural technologies to improve their livelihoods.
  • An additional 160,998 people were able to access social transfers (such as cash or in kind transfers including food).
  • Over 93,500, including 31,000 women have increased incomes.
  • Worked with DFID to provide affordable livestock insurance to vulnerable pastoralists and agro-pastoralists households in the arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya.
  • 36,207 people increased their access to financial services.
  • Six volunteers were placed in agriculture-related organisations across West Africa.

More about economic development


Results 2012–13

  • Australia trained over 2,000 officials in electoral management, regional diplomacy, international trade and law, counter piracy and legislative leadership; and one individual from Tanzania was sponsored to undertake an International Trade and Investment Law Masters in South AfricaAustralia assisted the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to improve tax administration and through this support enabled 576 staff to be trained in key areas identified by ZIMRA.
  • A total of 92 civil society organisations were supported to track service provisions.


Results 2012–13

  • The Australian Government continued to be responsive to new and existing humanitarian crises.
  • Over 5.6 million vulnerable women, men, girls and boys provided with life-saving assistance in conflict and crisis situations in the region.
  • Contributed to WFP providing lifesaving assistance to 1.2 million Somali, Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya.

More about humanitarian

Research overview

Australia’s Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS) are a competitive grants program designed to attract high quality, innovative research that informs policy development. Researchers have now begun work on a range of development research projects funded through the 2012 round of the ADRAS. Fourteen grants totaling almost $7.5 million over two years were awarded under the Africa theme.

The principal objectives of the Africa theme are to:

  1. Promote research which addresses critical development issues, as articulated through Australia’s existing aid program in key sectors
  2. Support research activities which have strong policy and user relevance, and are likely to result in demonstrable development impact.
  3. Extend knowledge in areas relevant to the effectiveness of our existing work in Africa.
  4. Contribute to capacity building in the African research sector, and facilitate Australian and international researchers to work in and with Africa.

Consistent with Australia's development activities in Africa, the research proposals focused on five thematic areas including agriculture and food security; mining for development; peace, conflict and security; maternal and child health; and water and sanitation.

More information on ADRAS and Africa-themed research

Where is Sub-Saharan Africa?

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Development statistics Source Value
Population (UN Human Development Indicators), 2011 World Bank 874,841,049
GDP growth (annual per cent, 2011) World Bank 4.1%
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$, 2011) World Bank US$1254
Poverty headcount ratio at $1.25 a day (PPP) (percentage of population), 2008 World Bank 47.5 per cent
School enrolment, primary (percentage net), 2010 World Bank 75 per cent
Adult literacy rate (both sexes, percentage aged 15 and above), 2007 UNDP 75.7 per cent
Under-5 mortality (per 1,000 live births), 2009 UNDP 113.5
Maternal mortality per 100,000, 2008 UNDP 450
Carbon dioxide emissions per capita, 2008 UNDP 1.011 tonnes



heading foldWhy we give aid


Africa has the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty and is expected to make up to 60 per cent of the world’s extreme poor by 2015. Africa lags behind other regions in MDG progress, with sub-Saharan Africa most off track against all the MDGs.

Find out more about why we give aid to Sub-Saharan Africa


heading fold How we give aid

Australia delivers the aid program to Africa largely by working in partnership with multilateral and regional organisations, bilateral donors, as well as non-government and community-based organisations.

Find out more about how we give aid to Sub-Saharan Africa


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Last reviewed: 18 January, 2014