In total, 311 pitches were received from 26 countries, from Algeria in the north, to South Africa in the south, Guinea Bissau in the west and Ethiopia in the east. Applicants range from development and education NGOs, to universities and tech companies. This represents a more than 1000% increase in submissions compared to the APIF’s first year in operation, in 2019. 

The call has now closed after two months during which the IPA received a daily cascade of submissions through a portal on the APIF website,, and no new bids will be considered.

Now begins the task of vetting the submissions, which falls to the body that oversees the fund, the APIF Committee, comprising publishing executives from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia and South Africa, under the leadership of IPA Vice-President, Bodour Al Qasimi.

They will put the best ideas through to a second round, where the applicants will be required to fill out a detailed application form and budget forecast. Then in autumn the APIF Committee will whittle down the applications and ultimately decide which projects to support, and the size of their grants.

IPA Vice-President, Bodour Al Qasimi said: ‘The response this year has been far beyond anyone’s expectations, thanks partly to a streamlined online application process and communications push. But the level of interest and the range of ideas coming in is further proof that Africa is bursting with entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas. With the APIF’s support some of these ideas will become reality and have a lasting positive impact on education where it is needed.’

The APIF is a four-year, USD 800,000 fund provided by Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, and administered by the IPA. The decision to incentivize learning innovations to help African students pursue their education followed the confinement measures imposed worldwide in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Around 190 countries have had to close schools and universities, affecting more than 1.5 billion school-aged children – around 90% of the world’s student population.

To see some of the work already underway with support from the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund, visit and browse the Projects and Libraries tabs.

Photo credit: Okada Books

 About the International Publishers Association (IPA)

The IPA is the world’s largest federation of publishers associations with 83 members in 69 countries. Established in 1896, the IPA is an industry body with a human rights mandate. The IPA’s mission is to promote and protect publishing and to raise awareness of publishing as a force for economic, cultural and social development. Working in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and numerous international NGOs, the IPA champions the interests of book and journal publishing at national and supranational level. Internationally, the IPA actively opposes censorship and promotes copyright, freedom to publish (including through the IPA Prix Voltaire), and literacy.

About Dubai Cares

Since its inception, Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has been working towards providing children and youth in developing countries with access to quality education through the design and funding of programs that aim to be integrated, impactful, sustainable and scalable. As a result, the UAE-based global philanthropic organization has successfully launched education programs reaching over 20 million beneficiaries in 59 developing countries.

Dubai Cares is playing a key role in helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030, by supporting programs in early childhood development, access to quality primary and secondary education, technical and vocational education and training for youth, as well as a specific focus on education in emergencies and protracted crises.

In the UAE, Dubai Cares engages residents through a series of volunteer, awareness and fundraising initiatives that are linked to its global mandate. These initiatives include the annual Walk for Education, Volunteer Emirates, Volunteer Globally and Ramadan Campaign.