Project Description

Books for Africa


Books for Africa is a United States-based non-profit organisation dedicated to ending the book famine in Africa. The organisation collects, sorts, ships and distributes books to students of all ages throughout Africa. Books for Africa is the world’s largest shipper of donated library and textbooks to Africa. The organisation plans to create a literacy-driven culture on the continent by providing the required empowering tools to the next generation of African leaders as well as their parents and teachers.


The Books for Africa headquarters are located in Minnesota, United States.

Operating region

Books for Africa operates from its headquarters in Minnesota and has two warehouses, one in Minnesota and one in Georgia. The organisation serves countries across the African continent and raises funds for book shipments from satellite offices in African countries such as:
• Botswana
• Burundi
• Cameroon
• Congo
• The Democratic Republic of the Congo
• Ethiopia
• Ghana
• Kenya
• Liberia
• Nigeria
• Rwanda
• Senegal
• Sierra Leone
• Somalia
• South Africa
• North Sudan
• Swaziland
• The Gambia
• Zimbabwe

Supported causes

Books for Africa support causes that promote improved literacy in Africa.

Grants/award programs

Books for Africa work closely with Better World Books, a social venture company that help raise funds for non-profit organisations that promote literacy. Better World Books is Books for Africa’s main funding source. This fundraising helps the organisation to cover shipping costs, which amounts to over $10,000 to ship a container that is around 40 feet big and can accommodate around 22,000 books.

Funded Organizations/Projects

Some of the projects Books for Africa has been involved with over the years include:
• Zambezi Schoolbook Project – Led by Claude and Barbara Mayfield, this project has shipped 18 40-foot containers from Books for Africa to Zimbabwe. The books are mainly early readers and around 70,000 fit into a single container. This means that a total of more than a million books have been delivered to more than 200 rural schools in Zimbabwe.

• Sierra Leone Book Trust and Schools for Salone – Led by Dick Simpson, known for his interest in African politics and his philanthropic work in Africa, this project has helped to send more than 462,000 books to dozens of schools in Sierra Leone since 2010. In addition to books, this project also sends other educational materials and helps to rebuild university libraries providing crucial medial books to doctors and nurses.

Foundation’s History

Books for Africa was launched in 1988 and began shipping books to African children and adults. By 2012 the organisation shipped around 2.2 million books worth over $28 million to 22 countries throughout Africa. The organisation also shipped over 600 computers and 15 new law libraries. In 2019 Books for Africa shipped a total of 3.3 million books, over 150 computers and e-readers that contain hundreds of thousands of digital books to 29 countries in Africa. Over $2.7 million was required and raised to achieve this. As in early 2020, close to 50 million books had been successfully delivered to people who are in dire need of them.