A foundation started by American-Hungarian Billionaire George Soros has spared Kenya in a drive to shut down its offices across African countries.
Bloomberg first reported on Thursday that the foundation, Open Society Foundation (OSF), sent a correspondence to employees of several African offices detailing its plans to shut down some of the offices.
The six affected cities on the African continent are Kampala in Uganda, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Cape Town in South Africa, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Abuja in Nigeria.
However, offices in Kenya, alongside Senegal and Johannesburg in South Africa, will continue to operate.
An aerial view of Nairobi City.
In a letter to its staff, Binaifer Nowrojee, OSF’s Vice President of programs, noted that it was increasingly becoming difficult to sustain operations across its offices despite a 40 per cent staff downsizing.
“With the decision by the board in June to cut the staff by more than 40 per cent. our staffing size and footprint by necessity need to diminish,” read the email from Nowrojee.
“We no longer have the bandwidth to operate multiple small offices and thus the decision to further reduce our locations.”
In another statement, Africa Executive Director Muthoni Wanyeki apologised for the development.
“I’m very sorry that it’s turned out this way. It’s obviously not what any of us expected and I am also very sorry that I didn’t have the information on this earlier,” she noted.
The foundation prides itself in providing Ksh148 billion for charity every year, Ksh15 billion of which is allocated to courses on the African Continent.
For three decades, the foundation, which is under the stewardship of Soros’ son, has availed a total of Ksh2.8 trillion and over 50,000 grants.
“The Open Society Foundations are active in more than 120 countries around the world, using grant-giving, research, advocacy, impact investment, and strategic litigation to support the growth of inclusive and vibrant democracies,” reads a description of the foundation on its website.
Soros, who made a fortune selling stock and currency markets, set up the foundation in 1979 after surviving the Nazi war that claimed over 500,000 lives.
His famous successful investment was when he bet against the British pound and made over $1 billion (Ksh148 billion) in profits. He has donated Ksh4.7 trillion of his personal wealth to fund OSF courses worldwide.
Lobby at the Open Society Institute in Baltimore.